Mobile Apps And The Post-iPhone Era
If you love technology like I do, it may seem hard to remember the world before iPhone. It wasn't that long ago when the answer to any question wasn't, "there's an app for that."
That said, according to a new Pew Internet Project report, "The Rise of Apps Culture," 11% of cell owners still are not sure if their phone is equipped with apps and only 35% of U.S. adults have software applications or “apps” on their phones. The average number of apps they have is 18.
Not terribly surprising is the revelation in the data that app users tend to use more features of their phones, like taking pictures and videos, playing games, and checking email.
The study also reveals that there is a high correlation between app users and active online media consumers. App users tend to index higher than the average Internet user on activities like seeking information and sharing content, as well as conducting transactions online.
While paid app usage is increasing, with almost half of app downloaders reporting they have purchased an app, only 13% of all adult cell phone users have paid to download an app to their phone. Heavy voice users of cell phones - described as people who make more than thirty phone calls a day - tend to be the most likely purchasers of mobile apps.
Social media usage also appears to be a driver of app adoption. And, heavy text users, like heavy voice users, tend to be more likely to have downloaded and use apps. Consequently, it might be fair to assume these users are likely to see posting a status through a social networking app to be an extension of their natural messaging behavior.
While adopters of premium broadband services in the home are very likely to have also downloaded apps on their mobile devices, many low income households rely solely on cell phones to access the internet, resulting in a large proportion of app downloaders with income under $50,000 per year.
Unfortunately, however, the data on overall app usage is all self-reported by consumers whom Pew (through Princeton Survey Research Associates International) surveyed by phone. Since carriers often deliver phones with their own pre-installed apps, supplementing the ones that are downloaded after purchase through the smartphone operating systems, it's highly likely that many consumers may not even know - or really care - when they are interacting with an application, a shortcut, or a web browser.