Why aren’t consumers downloading new apps?
That’s the billion-dollar question on which the health of the mobile ecosystem rests.
Accepting part of the blame, Apple believes it can do a better job helping people discover apps they likely never knew existed.
To do so, the tech titan just relaunched the iOS App Store with a major focus on -- you guessed it -- discovery.
Coinciding with the release of iOS 11, the new App Store shines a spotlight on lesser-known developers through interviews and other editorial efforts. Store visitors are greeted with an “App of the Day,” and then encouraged to shop around. These fresh features are housed in a “Today” section, which is now the first thing mobile users see when they visit the Store.
Apple has also decided to separate games, which brings some order to the Store’s offerings, and gives less flashy apps some room to stand out. More attention is obviously being given to the quality of the pictures and video that accompany new apps.
Also, while the Store still has plenty of charts, they now place less emphasis on top apps and more on newcomers -- along with those apps that have recently received novel upgrades.
It’s too early to tell what impact these changes will have on app adoption -- but something’s got to give.
The app marketplace is suffering from a level of stagnation that's hard to comprehend. Month to month, a majority of smartphone users (51%) don’t download a single app, according to recent research from comScore.
Among U.S. smartphone users, just 13% download one app a month; 11% download two apps a month; 8% download three apps; and 5% download four a month.
Worse yet, app discovery appears to be down across several channels, including app stores, word-of-mouth and advertising, comScore found.
On the bright side, millennials continue to express strong interest in newer apps. Among those aged 18 to 34, 70% say they’re always looking for new and interesting apps, and 65% say they get excited about new apps.
“Interest in apps appears to be wavering off for older generations of users, but millennials are still excited about apps and have a strong interest in them,” Adam Lella, senior analyst at comScore, said recently.
What’s the solution?
For Apple, doing a better job matching consumers with the roughly 2 million apps in its Store seems like a good place to start.