The overall size of the app market is not decreasing, however, the number of “casual users” using fewer apps within a larger smartphone market. In fact, the proportion of smartphone and tablet owners who never downloaded any apps was increasing, from less than 20 per cent to 31 per cent.
Paul Lee, analyst at Deloitte, suggests that “we are reaching a limit in the UK in the volume of app store downloads. Each additional new smartphone [owner] has less inclination to download apps.”
This is, ironically, due to better apps in the market, with people keeping them for longer and thus feeling less inclined to look for new apps.
But with nearly 90 per cent of smartphone users claiming never to spend money on apps, or any other smartphone content for that matter, the Financial Times noted that this “will raise questions about the profitability of the mobile market for games makers and other producers of mobile media”.
Deloitte also suggests that, as highlighted by its ‘Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions for 2014‘ report earlier this year, there will be a significant increase in smartphone penetration among the over-55s. And this age group tends not to make full use of the device’s capabilities, with many continuing to use it like a feature phone.
By Shané Schutte
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