Study shows most US smartphone users don't download any apps in a month


TechSpot Editor
Staff member

If you’re someone who constantly uses the same phone apps and never downloads anything new, don’t worry - you’re one of the majority. According to comScore’s new 2017 US Mobile Apps Report, 51 percent of smartphone users download zero applications each month.

Even those that do install new apps on their phones each month aren’t downloading that many. Most users – 13 percent – download just one, 11 percent download two apps, 8 percent download three apps, 5 percent download four apps, 7 percent download 5 to 7 apps, and 5 percent download 8 or more.

The good news for mobile device apps is that they account for half of all time users spend engaging with digital media. Of the 57 percent of time spent on mobile apps, 50 percent of this takes place on smartphones, while the remaining 7 percent happens on tablets. As for the other platforms, desktop takes a 34 percent share, while the mobile and tablet webs languish at the bottom, taking 7 percent and 2 percent respectively.

Younger millennials – those aged between 18 to 24 – are the heaviest mobile app users. They spend two-thirds of their digital media time using smartphone applications, accounting for more than three hours per day of in-app usage. By contrast, over 65s spend most of their digital time (53 percent) on desktop rather than smartphones (27 percent), and use mobile applications for around 1.6 hours per day.

Unsurprisingly, Millennials are the driving force behind new apps. 70 percent of those aged 18 – 34 said they’re always looking for new and interesting ones, compared to just 37 percent of those aged 35 – 54 and 22 percent of users over the age of 55. They’re also more willing to pay for apps, with an average of one in five downloading at least one paid-for app each month, and 70 percent making at least one in-app purchase annually.

One element the age groups have in common is reasons for deleting apps. An almost equal number of users removed one from their device in the past year due to lack of storage space, declining interest/usage, and to declutter their phones.

When it comes to the most popular apps, Facebook and Google continue to dominate. The two tech giants own 8 of the ten most used applications, including the top six. And while Facebook leads among three of the age groups, it seems 18 – 24-year-olds prefer YouTube.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
I used to enjoy downloading and trying different apps, but there has been such a concern about bots and hacks that I am very leary. And you used to find a lot more that were totally free, but don't see many, especially the simple games like golf, etc. so I just stick with the old faithful ones .....


TS Booster
Why would you worry? haha

I totally agree with Uncle Al. The only time I download new apps is when I'm really bored on a road trip or something but usually, I end up deleting them within the day if not in 10 minutes.
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TS Evangelist
I only download now, if a current app isn't working as I see fit, then I might download a new one. Otherwise the only time I download apps, is if I buy a new phone. Once set up with the apps I normally have, other than updates, I don't even bother the play store. Phones are tools to me. After 5pm during the week, and 80% of the time on the weekend, I don't even bother to pick up my phone. It's more of a phone to me anyway. 1500-2000 minutes per month voice.


TechSpot Chancellor
After you download the basic 4-5 apps a person routinely uses, the rest are just fluff and clutter up your phone. I may add a couple of new games before I travel just to do something when I'm bored. Otherwise, my phone has what it needs and has been that way for quite a while. I think having a zillion apps on your phone is more a teenager thing than anything else.

So this article doesn't surprise me at all.
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TS Evangelist
A huge reason I avoid apps I dont absolutely need is permissions. Seems like every other app wants access to my contacts or my photos. I remember hearing about apps that were automatically sending texts to peoples contacts without their knowledge.


TS Addict
I mostly surf the net, not use the apps. Also, once I've gathered most of the apps for my needs, unless my needs change, I don't have to look for new apps.
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TS Evangelist
As I suspected, what most people really need is a Blackberry. Too bad Blackberry is as clueless as ever regarding what the market wants and, perhaps just as importantly, what its willing to pay.
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TS Rookie
Is amazing...this tell me that the same people who criticize Windows Store for not having enough apps, are people who do not download an app in centuries ... so, it's just for disturbing or because they have nothing to do?

I've always wondered, how many calculator app are needed to study? In the 60-70's there were no calculators, but there were physicists, mathematicians, engineers, etc. Then?

They are the kind of people who are in favor of those who are against, and against those who are in favor. As the dog of the hostel's owner, niether eats nor let eat.


TS Evangelist
Millennials really need to find something better to do with their lives, IMO. Sooner or later, the thrill will likely wear off, though.
you would hope so but look how 70 year olds still dress like they are teens. I do but I'm only 64


TS Evangelist
If they get rid of all the adware, spyware, and in-app purchases, then most people wouldn't be opposed to trying out new apps. Google has done a terrible job at policing the store. But, then again, Google's been guilty of all these things. I'm on the verge of just going back to the simple flip-phone. Smartphones, I've found, have been destructive to my eyes.


TS Ambassador
Hmm; *MAYBE* one per year! Selecting apps which are generic in their service gives your phone great utility:
  • Amtrac - map and track train schedules
  • Quickmap - Calif specific Cal Trans road conditions
  • Truecaller - phone robo caller assistant
  • TCM - movie app