Over the past decade, mobile devices have completely reshaped the digital landscape. They now consume more than twice as much of our attention as traditional computers, and in many regions are the only means people have of getting online. A big contributor to mobile device consumption is mobile applications. In fact, 88% of mobile time is spent on mobile apps. (1) They have become an integral part of our lives as we use them to engage in work and personal and work-related activities including learning how to cook mouthwatering dishes, discovering freebies, discounts or free coupons, losing weight, eating right, staying fit, booking flights, dating, staying productive or entertained. There are currently 6.5 million apps available for download across the multiple app store platforms and while many mobile applications serve great purposes, there are concerns of over-saturation, tech dependency and overall lack of value for others.
Mobile apps as we know them debuted alongside smartphones and PDAs. They had to exist because smartphone technology out-paced mobile web technology. (3) Initially, these downloadable applications resolved many of the issues with navigating the web on a hand-held device, and introduced features such as notifications, offline access and persistent settings and preferences. Today, the American population, both young and old, devours the ease of using apps to complete daily tasks and access the internet 24/7. Consumers have become adjusted to accessing information, databases, services, and products in the most convenient way possible. Whenever a new way of doing something pops up most people ask: “Is there an app for that?” and today, most likely there is. Now, anyone can design a mobile application and with the right marketing techniques and niche markets, convince people to download it. Apps are virtually everywhere and the total number of downloads is expected to reach 258.2 billion by 2022 yet many are beginning to question the utility that countless apps actually bring to consumers. For example, is comparing car insurance quotes really worthy of a dedicated app? Some things can be handled over a local Wi-Fi landing page instead of requiring a 20 MB dedicated app that will only be used once. If we installed a company’s dedicated app for every item of clothing or take-out we ever buy, we would probably fill our phone’s internal storage to the max unnecessarily.
While there has been dramatic increases in overall time spent using mobile apps over the past 2 years, the usage of successful apps has decreased as the amount of mobile apps available continues to grow. App development remains the focus for a lot of new and aspiring entrepreneurs although less than 0.01% of all consumers mobile apps were financially viable in 2018. In 2017, the average person kept around 80 apps on their phone, but they used only nine of them on a daily basis. In fact, 71% of app users churn within the first 90 days of downloading an app. You could have the best app on the planet, but if nobody is using it after they download, you won’t make a dime. It becomes a waste of time, energy and resources for many developers, entrepreneurs, and businesses alike. Instead of developing apps that don’t make sense for the business, entrepreneurs could be using their resources and time on taking a more functional approach like creating a well-designed mobile website. They have to understand their industry and determine if an app or mobile site is most suited to their needs and it will depend upon a number of factors, including target audiences, available budget, intended purpose and required features. Managing an automated home, checking social media, and streaming music or video are all in need of a proper app interface, as the various menus and functions that tie into the wider operating system are deserving of some dedicated software. However, if your aim is to simply deliver content and establish a broad mobile presence that can be easily maintained, shared between users, and found on search engines, then the a mobile-friendly responsive website may be the logical choice.
- The Majority of Americans’ Mobile Time Spent Takes Place in Apps https://www.emarketer.com/content/the-majority-of-americans-mobile-time-spent-takes-place-in-apps
- Number of apps available in leading app stores as of 1st quarter 2021 https://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app-stores/
- When Will The Web Replace Native Mobile Apps? (Part I) https://medium.com/kinandcartacreated/when-will-the-web-replace-native-mobile-apps-5408c895c8a6
- Number of mobile app downloads worldwide from 2016 – 2022 https://www.statista.com/statistics/271644/worldwide-free-and-paid-mobile-app-store-downloads/
- By Having An App For Everything, We’re Actually Doing Nothing https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/12/19/by-having-an-app-for-everything-were-actually-doing-nothing/?sh=320193816ee1