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June 22, 2016

Quality Over Quantity: Key to Mobile Application Success

Our technology landscape may be dominated by applications and services, but the mobile app boom has already hit its peak. According to comScore, Apple reported 75 billion all-time App Store downloads in 2014, but now, two years later, most smartphone owners download exactly zero applications per month.

Why the dramatic shift in behavior? Very simply, the market got flooded with apps and now most mobile users have all the applications they need and aren’t actively seeking new ones. That’s a bit of a tough pill to swallow, especially when coupled with research from Nomura showing an actual drop in application downloads last month of 20 percent in the U.S.

There are exceptions to the trend, of course, with companies like Snapchat and Uber growing like gangbusters. Snapchat downloads went from 13 million in 2015 to 27 million this year, while Uber is growing at a rate exceeding 100 percent. The fact that these applications are soaring while other download activity is in decline points to a new trend of mobile users demanding quality instead of quantity.

According to AppAnnie, a site that tracks application popularity in real time, across categories and platforms, Snapchat has eclipsed Facebook Messenger, Instagram, YouTube and the regular Facebook app. Minecraft: Pocket Edition tops the list of paid apps, followed by the popular interactive trivia game Heads Up! The current top five grossing applications are Game of War, Mobile Strike, Spotify, Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga.

None of the top applications are new, which indicates an interesting trend in mobile download behavior. Popularity is no longer based on the newest, trendiest app but on standards that can prove their longevity across a broad user base.

According to Forrester Research, a typical smartphone owner spends more than 88 percent of their app time using only five downloaded applications. The company forecasts consumers will continue to spend time on fewer applications and that the line between apps and the mobile web is becoming increasingly blurry. In other words, only the strongest applications offering the best quality and value are slated to survive in the overcrowded mobile app marketplace.

Interested in learning more about apps and the interconnected ecosystem of technology solutions, services, and platforms that are powering our workplace and personal lives? Be sure to attend All About the API July 18-21 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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