Are we in a mobile app glut? Report says most US phone owners aren’t downloading apps

Mobile apps / mobile applications

Did you download any apps to your smartphone this month? Chances are, you didn’t, says research firm ComScore. The company published a report showing that in the U.S., 65.5 percent of all smartphone owners aren’t adding any new apps to their phones these days.

Yet more than half of smartphone owners are using apps on their phone every single day, the data suggests. So what gives?

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Quartz’s Dan Frommer picked up on a key point in the ComScore data: A small percentage of smartphone owners in the U.S. account for a disproportionately high number of downloads. How much so? ComScore’s research says that nearly half of all app download activity is done by just seven percent of U.S. smartphone owners. These are the app addicts, if you will. The rest of us just use what we already have on our phones, for the most part.

At first, this scenario sounds odd. But when you think about it, it makes some sense. This is 2014, not 2008 when the mobile app economy was just starting to take off. When you start with a blank slate, there’s plenty of room for new apps to fill up your smartphone. These days, with more than a billion apps available from various mobile app stores, chances are that most of the new apps you see will give you a feeling of “been there, done that.”

iPhone apps / Mobile apps / mobile applications

Simply put, as the number of apps has grown exponentially, it has become more difficult for developers to create unique software that becomes a must-have download. Instead, the first-movers have traction, which is why you’ll see certain key apps on most people’s handsets: Think Facebook, Pandora, YouTube, Google Maps and Instagram.

There’s still room in the mobile app stores for the “next big thing” but it has to be really big to get smartphone owners in the U.S. to download it.

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