A new study from the Pew Internet Project illustrates just how rapidly consumers are embracing applications on their mobile devices.
Of the 82% of U.S. adults who are now active cellphone users, 43% now have apps on their phones, and more than two-thirds of them use those apps regularly. In other words, 24% of the U.S. adult population actively uses apps, the study estimates.
Of the 82% Americans using mobile devices, nearly one-third of them have downloaded apps, and 13% said they have paid for one or more of those apps. More than half of those who said they had downloaded an app claimed they had done so within the last 30 days, and one-third had in the last week.
Unsurprisingly, mobile app users tended to be younger, male, more educated and more affluent compared to the rest of the population. App users had an average of 18 apps on their devices and a mean of 10, indicating that there were a number of users with a disproportionate number of apps on their phones. This was especially the case with young adults, the study found.
Although apps are not nearly as popular as photo taking (76% of mobile users), text messaging (71%) and accessing the Internet (38%), the stats are impressive given that Apple didn’t even open up its App Store until July 2008, followed by BlackBerry nearly a year later.
As SVP and Head of Research and Insights for Telecom Practices at Nielsen Roger Entner observed, “This is a pretty remarkable tech-adoption story, if you consider that there was no apps culture until two years ago.”
Yet adoption still has a long way to go. Kristen Purcell, associate director for research at the Pew Internet Project, noted that “many cell owners do not know what their phone can do.” 11% of those surveyed were not even sure if their phones had apps. “The apps market seems somewhat ahead of a majority of adult cellphone users,” she added.
Games Top Most Popular Apps List
Games make up by far the most popular genre of apps, both in terms of number of downloads and ratio of people who have downloaded them. 60% of those who said they had downloaded an app in the last 30 days said they had also played a gaming app during that period, followed by news/weather (52%), maps/navigation (51%) and social networking (47%). Shopping was much further down the list at 24%.
The study also noted varying app behaviors between genders: Games and social networking were more popular with women (63% vs. 58% and 53% vs. 42%, respectively), while productivity (29% vs. 21%) and banking/finance apps (32% vs. 25%) were more popular with men.
Those Who Download Apps Use Them Frequently
Of those who have downloaded apps, nearly 2 in 3 said they use their apps daily, and 1 in 4 use their apps for more than 30 minutes per day. Most (71%) use their apps alone, while roughly half use them while waiting for someone or something, or while at work. Another 36% use their apps while commuting (which happens to be when I use apps most heavily).
Users Like to Keep Their Phones Organized
Consumers value the ability to organize their apps for easy accessibility, the study revealed, noting that 59% of app users had rearranged their apps so that the most frequently used were more accessible. 56% said they delete the apps they don’t use, most within two weeks of downloading them.
We’d love to know how these findings compare to your own use of mobile apps. What kinds of apps do you most frequently use? When do you use them? Do you prefer to have lots of apps on your phone, or only the ones you use often? Please share your experiences in the comments.
Image courtesy of Vail Resorts.
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