App downloads drop 13pc as use matures: report
Mobile-savvy consumers downloaded fewer applications and spent less on apps and downloadable content in 2013 than the year before, according to a new report by Deloitte.
Deloitte?s "2013 Global Mobile Consumer" survey found that the number of app downloads and per app spending decreased 13 percent from 2012 to 2013 in the United States. While the decrease was consistent among smartphone users across other countries surveyed, as well, the app marketspace retains its potential over the long term.
"I look at this as a natural maturity in the apps/device model," said Craig Wigginton, vice chairman and U.S. telecommunications sector leader at Deloitte, New York. "You get into a more normalized model."
?Consumers have gotten more sophisticated and mature, and they know what they want," he said.
The Deloitte survey polled a national sample of 2,000 consumers between May and July.
It has been five years since Apple launched its App Store, so at this point, mobile users may already have the apps they prefer to use for work and play, per Mr. Wigginton.
Of those surveyed, smartphone users downloaded 2.31 apps per month in 2013, compared to 2.65 per month in 2012. The number of apps downloaded by tablet users decreased to 2.37 per month in 2013, down from 3.05 per month in 2012.
Smartphone users spent an average of $1.29 per month on apps and downloadable content in 2013, compared to $1.75 per month in 2013. The decrease in monthly spending was markedly higher for tablet users, who spent $1.72 per month on apps and downloadable content in 2013, compared to $3.51 per month in 2012.
A graphic from the study
While fewer consumers surveyed use near-field communications their numbers are growing, and users are committed to the technology.
NFC is a form of mobile wallet that identifies a user and that user's bank account to a contactless payment terminal.
Ten percent of those surveyed said their phones had NFC technology, an increase of 103 percent from 2012. Of that 10 percent, 34 percent said they had used NFC in the past month.
?That may be small, but it's a small and loyal niche,? Mr. Wigginton said.
?Eight percent of survey takers considered themselves early adopters,? he said ?Fifty-seven percent of that 8 percent have used NFC.?
More than a third of consumers are using smartphones and tablets to browse online, yet fewer than 15 percent are actually shopping with the devices.
Wi-Fi use has seen significant growth in the U.S. with 41 percent of subscribers reporting they are willing to pay more for faster speeds.
An increasing number of consumers are using Wi-Fi as their primary way of accessing the retailer, as opposed to using their mobile networks. Fifty-four percent of survey takers said they used Wi-Fi when out and about, compared to 51 percent in 2012.
Therefore, retailers should be embracing their own Wi-Fi networks to better engage smartphone-wielding consumers and drive sales.
?Wi-Fi is becoming expected,? Mr. Wigginton said. ?It used to be that people had to search out Wi-Fi. It is now becoming expected that people will have Wi-Fi everywhere.?
Other key findings from the report include that tablet use drives more smartphone use, but less laptop use.
Tablets showed the fastest growth in ownership among all mobile devices, increasing 48 percent since 2012. Smartphone growth remains strong, with the 55 and older age group showing the strongest growth.
Smartphone cost ranked last among reasons to select a device for users, while it was first among non-smartphone users.
Forty-five percent of companies have bring your own device policies. At companies with bring-your-own-device policies, 51 percent of employees use their own devices.
?More and more smartphone users are using their smartphone devices in one way, shape or form,? Mr. Wigginton said. ?Smartphones are getting into more people?s hands.?
Kari Jensen is staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York