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August 18, 2014

Are smartphone users falling out of love with apps?

British users now downloading fewer apps than ever before.

By Vinod

The UK mobile market may have reached "peak app", as it appears that less and less of us are downloading new apps for our smartphone or tablet.

Almost a third of smartphone users did not download a single app during a typical month, with only around 10% of smartphone users buying apps or other content regularly.

The figures come from a survey by Deloitte, which revealed that 31% of global smartphone users do not download apps, a rise from around 20% at the same point last year.

The average number of apps downloaded has fallen from 2.3 to 1.8 in the same period.

"We are reaching a limit in the UK in the volume of app store downloads," Deloitte head of tech, media and telecoms Paul Lee said.

"Each additional new smartphone [user] has less inclination to download apps, either out of apathy or, at a more global level, affordability."

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"Ironically the better that apps get the longer people will keep them meaning people feel less inclined to look for new apps," he added.

The findings will not be welcome to the UK mobile industry, which has prided itself as a home to many top developers, including the likes of MindCandy and King Digital Media.

Last year, analyst firm Gartner predicted that global app download rates would slow after reaching a peak in 2014, as users accumulate a portfolio of familiar apps that they rely on.

Phil Barnett, VP and GM EMEA, Good Technology said that app developers run the risk of being "one hit wonders" if they fail to keep up with new trends.

"The ‘if in doubt download it’ attitude to consumer apps is clearly on the decline. The number of smartphone users who do not download any apps has reached 31%. As we have become accustomed to how the smartphone operates in our home lives, we become more selective and resist the urge to turn to the ‘download’ button.

"Developers and businesses building in-house app stores need to learn from the consumer downturn and ensure they focus on usability."

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