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Report: App Interest May Be Waning, but Not for News, Push Notifications

A new report about mobile app usage from comScore Inc. indicates app discovery is generally down in the age of Millennials, but news apps and push notifications are making surprising comebacks.

The report shows the big players (Facebook, Gmail, Amazon, Google Maps and Search and so on) continue to nearly monopolize the most popular apps on most devices, with signs of "peak app" emerging as app discoverability is down across multiple channels. That makes it increasingly harder for smaller vendors or app makers to penetrate the user home screen.

However, a dissatisfaction with push notifications noted in last year's report is absent in the new study, titled "The 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report."

A concurrent increase in news-related apps was also noted, with the report saying: "Last year's increase in 'push notification fatigue' reversed itself in 2017. Is the uptick in news events making users want to stay more connected?" The report didn't indicate if the United States' unique political situation contributed to the increased interest in news apps -- which saw the largest percentage increase in time spent for selected content categories -- and push notifications.

The comScore reports, which can help mobile developers plan their app strategies, are published to investigate the dynamics of mobile media consumption, audiences, and user habits in order to help publishers understand what's driving mobile activity, how it's evolving and how publishers and advertisers can take advantage of identified trends.

Big Players Dominate
[Click on image for larger view.] Big Players Dominate (source: comScore)

One of the key takeaways from the report as identified by comScore concerned "More signs of having reached 'peak app' are emerging as interest in new apps begins to wane." That's supported by the following findings:

  • Many app acquisition methods are seeing modest declines over the past year.
  • The majority of app users don't download any apps per month.
  • Most app users across all age segments access 20 or fewer apps in a month.
  • While many fast growing apps still exist, fewer apps have emerged of late to revolutionize the digital landscape.

Two other takeaways are: "Mobile Apps are the primary driver of digital media consumption but activity is concentrated"; and "Millennials prove to be the most engaged, sophisticated and addicted users of apps."

App usage varies greatly by age demographics, with those age 18-24 favoring iFunny, those age 25-34 favoring Venmo, those 35-24 favoring Checkout 51, and those over 55 favoring Fox News. After the November presidential election, many political pundits attributed the success of the current Republican president to a base of older, mostly rural, white Americans without college degrees. Reports indicate the average age of a primetime Fox News viewer is 68.

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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