Apps Abound, But Study Shows We Could Care Less

Linc Wonham
by Linc Wonham 16 Sep, 2010

No one is denying that "there's an app for that", as the ubiquitous slogan tells us. The question now, based on new research, is do people actually use them?


Not so much, according to a Pew Report released this week. The Internet and American Life Project study reveals that only 24 percent of adults actually use the apps on their mobile devices, and the ones that do tend to be young, affluent, educated males, with a slight skew toward Hispanics.


The report used a nationwide sample of 2,252 adults, and it also presented findings from a Nielsen survey that revealed that games were the most downloaded apps both in volume and in the percentage of adults using them. More popular activities than apps for mobile phone users were taking photos (76%), text messaging (72%), Internet, games, e-mail, video, music and instant messaging, all in the 30- to 38-percent range. When measured in popularity as a percent of mobile phone users, apps came in last at 29 percent.


An important statistic for developers is how many people have paid for an app they downloaded. Of the 29 percent of adult mobile phone users who download apps, just under half - 47 percent - paid for the software. That accounts for about 13 percent of all adult cell-phone users - all others say they only download free apps.


Unlike the differences between app users and non-users, the study found no major demographic patterns between those who pay for apps and those who do not.