Online stores for iOS and Android host a terrific number of apps: we are talking about 2 milllions each. These figures should make us reflect a little bit on the opportunities.
How many app we’ve installed on our smartphones? How many have been deleted in a few minutes and how many are still installed but unused? Probably hell of a lot. According to this study, 23% of apps have been launched only once before being abandoned to the oblivion. We shouldn’t be amazed: when most apps are free or cost just a few bucks we all tend to try out many of them, especially after buying a new smartphone. When the initial enthusiasm is lost then we usually keep using only the most important to us and we stop scavenging App Store or Google Play for hidden gems. At this point, according to Comscore, 65% of US users donwload less than an app every monty, while only a quarter of users try more then one app monthly.
Does the app’s era came to an end? Probably not. Even if the market is dominated by a dozen apps (Chrome, Facebook, Whatsapp, Spotify and so on) there’s always space for some new developer escalate the first positions of the charts. Think about the success of Pokémon Go.
Basically, even if we spend a huge amount of time staring at the little screen of our phones, usually we are just browsing the web, listening music, chatting or checking our Facebook’s Timeline.
Honestly it’s true that most apps are basically useless. Some of them have been substituted by feature integrated in the new OSes (like the torch apps). Some others are so specialized that interest only a few people in the world. Also, there are many apps so well integrated with the operating system that even if they are installed, are seldom opened but often used by other means. Think about home automation gadgets compatibile with Apple Home Kit: instead of opening the apps you can interact with them through Siri or the notification screen. Much better than spending time in searching through the database of app, opening them and switching back to the home screen just for turning on the lights or chancing the room temperature.
These numbers will probably scare anyone investing in app development but the situation is not tragic. Of course before investing money in the development you should ask yourself if this is the right way to increase your business. Launching a new app could help your marketing strategy if you play well your cards, but sometimes the development budget could be better invested on other actions. Publishing an app just to be on App Store or Google Play does not guarantee the visibility you are aiming for and is like having a great looking website which lacks any content.