App providers will need to focus their development, marketing and branding “more intensely toward retention strategies”, as the market matures and users become comfortable with current usage levels, according to research by Gartner.
“After eight years of searching for, downloading and using smartphone apps, users are maturing,” said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner. “However, we may see those patterns change in the future as users integrate apps more deeply into their daily lives.”
Although usage remains high, users may not want or need more apps in the future, says the study, which could cause concern for app providers — if users become too complacent, app businesses could suffer from lack of engagement or slowing growth.
“App users need to be convinced about the value of the app. Their willingness for new app experiences is open-ended, but their plan is to keep their same patterns of use. Users will try new apps, but they need to be convinced of an app’s value before they adopt them and change use patterns over the long term,” Blau further explained.
In order to quantify how users feel about their use of apps, Gartner conducted a survey of around 2,000 US and German consumers in 2014, both considered mature markets.
While the survey showed clearly that app use is high across all categories, some categories, such as social networking and video, have a particularly high overall weekly usage.
Last month, analytics firm Fiksu said that daily app download volumes “surged” during January 2015, but the cost to acquire loyal users also reached an “all-time high” at $2.90, a 38 per cent increase month-on-month.