Blog Post

Printer apps are downloaded more often than smartwatch apps, report finds

A new report from app analytics firm App Annie focuses on “connected apps,” or apps that require separate hardware to run — which includes everything from printers with Wi-Fi to the latest Android Wear smartwatches. Although wearable technology has received a lot of attention recently, the report suggests downloads for their usually required companion apps are still low.

App Annie’s report looked at 30 apps that require an external piece of hardware to work and inferred the number of downloads on both the Apple App Store and Google Play they received this past August.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 2.07.39 PM

The most downloaded app in the batch was Chromecast, which is a strong sign of the $35 streaming stick’s success over the past year. The second most downloaded connected app was Fitbit. But after that come a bunch of apps that suggest that a lot more people have cable set-top boxes and printers than pieces of wearable technology. It also implies that people like to download apps for something like a printer or a satellite TV box, even though those apps aren’t required.

App Annie divided the 30 selected apps into six categories, and the top two categories, Media and Productivity, accounted for roughly 70 percent of downloads among these apps over the time period. Apps categorized as media include Chromecast, DirecTV, DISH and GoPro. Productivity apps include a bunch of printer apps from companies like HP and Kodak, as well as Square’s Register software.

Apps that connect to newer technologies related to smart homes, smartwatches, and wearable technology accounted for only 15 percent of downloads, and that’s combining four loosely related categories together. While app downloads aren’t a perfect proxy for device sales, you’d expect the two to correlate fairly closely. Apps in these categories include Fitbit, Jawbone UP, Pebble, Misfit Shine, Nest Mobile, Dropcam and Android Wear.

App Annie also provided a download ranking of apps in their health and fitness tracker category, which is useful as a gauge of which trackers are catching on and which aren’t.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 2.10.23 PM

The App Annie report doesn’t provide estimates for the number of downloads over the period. For that, you’ll have to subscribe to App Annie’s premium services. You can take a look at the full report here.