In Blog, Data, Industry news, Mobile

We all have smartphone apps downloaded on our devices, using them daily to read the latest news stories, browse the perfect outfit, or log our latest fitness activity, as examples.

Apps are undoubtedly an effective way for brands to reach users in their micro-moments – but how exactly are users using apps? And are the apps themselves well-received?

We’ve compiled some illuminating stats that might just surprise you…


  1. An estimated 160 billion app downloads are expected in 2017

It’s only an estimation of course, but Juniper Research predict that we will see the number of global app downloads reach 160 billion in 2017, compared to 80 billion in 2013. Whilst this prediction suggests that users are increasingly willing to download smartphone apps, it also highlights the huge challenge for brands to develop apps that stand them apart from the huge level of competition.

8 Stats About Smartphone Apps That Will Surprise You headline blog image eMarketer blog image


  1. Users spend 90% of their time in apps

It might be hard to believe, but in a recent study, Flurry have found that smartphone users spend just 10% of their time on the mobile web, compared to 90% in apps. With users moving further away from browsers on mobile, this means less time spent on search engines, where historically companies have concentrated their efforts on traffic acquisition. Brands will therefore have to keep finding new ways to reach users on mobile that don’t rely so heavily on search.


  1. Retail apps are used most frequently, with 44% of people using them daily

In their report on apps and mobile site consumption, Think with Google have discovered that 44% of users who have retail apps use them daily. Most users only have a few downloaded, but 11% of retail app users have more than 20 installed. And two thirds of retail app users have spent money in an app in the last 30 days, whilst 15% have spent more than £100. This level of consistent engagement is excellent news for retailers who want to effectively reach users in their micro-moments.


  1. Users spend approximately 88% of app time on just 5 apps

App usage in general may well be on the up, but that’s not to say that users will start to use more apps. In fact, research from Forrest shows that users spend the majority of their app time in just 5 apps. Attention is given mainly to messaging apps, which, according to Forbes, are “set to become standalone application ecosystems.”


  1. As many as 25% of app users open an app once and never return

An illuminating study by eMarketer has found that 25% of those who open an app once never return. This statistic shows just how difficult the challenge is for brands who want people to find and download their smartphone apps, and importantly, stay engaged. In the modern digital age of instant gratification, brands need to work to ensure that their app experience is seamless, their offering is clear and the path to conversion is easy to navigate. Otherwise users will abandon apps to never return.


  1. 25% of installed apps are never used

This statistic might surprise you, but Google have discovered that 1 in 4 installed apps are never actually used at all by users. This means that for all the effort and resource brands have put towards getting downloads, some users aren’t then engaging any further with them. Brands need to therefore find new ways to keep their app top of mind amidst stiff competition.


  1. 3 in 10 users don’t pay via contactless citing a lack of trust

According to April 2016 research from Future Thinking and Toluna, 31% of UK internet users don’t pay via contactless payments because of a lack of trust. And this figure grows to 43% for the over 55 age demographic. The stats show that brands need to work on instilling trust with people at every point across the user journey, as we explore further in our eBook on the subject.

8 Stats About Smartphone Apps That Will Surprise You headline blog image eMarketer blog image 2


  1. 71% of users believe branded mobile apps do not engage and merely push content

In a survey of 1,612 UK smartphone users, Ampersand Mobile found that 71% think that branded mobile apps do not engage users but instead push content. This is a worrying statistic as it indicates that users are unhappy with the current user experience, something that as an industry we need to address.

What do you think about these stats? Did you find any particularly surprising? Let us know in the comments.

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Ellie Hubble
Ellie is a Content Manager in Ve's Digital team, and actively leads creative content campaigns from idea generation to live project. She has written for a broad variety of sites, such as, Travioor and the Daily Touch and is happiest when bringing an original angle to an old conversation. Ellie proudly hails from Devon, but controversially prefers the Cornish way of making a cream tea.
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