App-titude: Half of American smartphone users aren't downloading apps at all

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If your smartphone app collection looks like a study on minimalism, don’t worry — you’re not alone. Far from it, in fact. As per a new study from ComScore, nearly half of American smartphone users aren’t downloading apps at all — 49 percent download zero apps per month.

While the explosive growth of mobile phones over the last decade would seem to suggest extensive and widespread adoption of their associated applications, that’s not really the case. As it turns out, the popularity of apps can be attributed to a very small but mighty proportion of app power users. Indeed, 13 percent of smartphone owners account for over 50 percent of all app downloads, ComScore’s mobile app report says. So for every few people who have just one page of apps on their iPhone, there’s someone who has to swipe through multiple screens to get to the app they want.

Around 51 percent of smartphone users regularly download apps over a monthly period, and “the average number downloaded per person is 3.5,” as per comScore’s results. “However, the total number of app downloads is highly concentrated at the top.”

And even for those who aren’t necessarily downloading tons of apps, it seems that we’re still collectively spending plenty of time on them. Another recent comScore report discovered that Americans spend half our time online on mobile apps. Moreover, “total activity on smartphones and tablets account[s] for two-thirds of digital media time spent,” the company notes.

As it turns out, not everyone is in agreement on these figures. Another study from Tune, a mobile-app advertising company, did a study of their own in which they determined that 75 percent of U.S. smartphone owners download an app at least once a month.

So take these findings with a grain of salt, and keep downloading apps at whatever pace makes you feel most comfortable.

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