While the majority of smartphone users in the U.S. aren’t downloading any new apps, a small but active segment adds eight or more new apps every month. That’s according to the latest U.S. Mobile App Report from digital measurement and analytics firm comScore.
The new report out Thursday details several trends as to how -- and for what purpose -- U.S. smartphone users are interacting with the apps on their devices.
In a typical month, 65.5 percent of smartphone users don't download any new apps, while a small percentage of the rest of the users -- 2.4 percent -- adds eight or more new apps monthly, according to comScore.
Overall, that equates to an average number of downloads of “slightly more than one” app per month. The top 7 percent account for “nearly half of all download activity in a given month,” the comScore report noted.
Mobile Commerce Heats Up
We spoke with comScore marketing insights analyst Adam Lella to learn more about the implications of this latest report on mobile apps use. Lella said it’s not surprising that so many smartphone users aren’t adding new apps regularly.
“People have limited storage space on their phones,” he said. “You can’t just indiscriminately download any app that you see.” That suggests that mobile apps developers “have to be smarter” about what they're coming out with, Lella added.
In general, though, the use of mobile smartphone apps is growing rapidly in the U.S., especially in the area of mobile commerce. In an Aug. 19 blog post, comScore vice president of marketing and insights Andrew Lipsman said that statistics from the second quarter of 2014 showed that year-on-year growth in m-commerce spending had shot up to 47 percent. Previously, m-commerce spending had been growing by rates in the mid-20s, he pointed out.
With growth rates like that, mobile digital commerce -- which Lella said currently accounts for just 12 percent to 13 percent of all e-commerce -- is likely to expand significantly over the next several years.
Facebook Is King
Mobile apps also account for the lion’s share of growth in the amount of time people are spending with digital media, the new comScore report found. The time smartphone users spend with their apps grew by 52 percent from June 2013 to June 2014. Desktop computer usage also continued to grow during that time period, although by only 1 percent.
“Total mobile activity including mobile browser usage recently eclipsed 60 percent, as desktop now accounts for the remaining 40 percent,” the report stated. “Apps drive the vast majority of media consumption activity on mobile devices, accounting for approximately seven out of every eight minutes.”
The digital brands that dominate apps usage on desktops also rule in the mobile market, the comScore report noted. With more than 115 million mobile users in June 2014, Facebook is king in terms of both total audience size and time spent using an app. YouTube comes in second with over 83 million unique users, followed by Google Play (72 million), Google Search (70 million) and Pandora Radio (69 million).