App stores are seeing more and more added on a weekly basis, whether they’re games, health oriented or in another given field. That said, their usage in general may not have risen that much, but the time spent with them certainly has.
That’s according to a new report from Nielsen, according to Mediapost. The report shows that the number of apps has increased quite a bit over the last year, but general usage has remained pretty steady, from the findings in the chart below.
As you can see, between Q4 2012 and Q4 2014, the general usage remains pretty steady, with users utilizing an average of 26.7 apps per month. This is an interesting statistic with the app count being in the “millions,” with new ones “being rolled out every day.”
The numbers show similarity to that of television. Even with more channels introduced in the spectrum, the average television household only watches so much of this programming. Mediapost’s report notes that “despite the exponential growth of media options, people still gravitate to a relatively finite array of options.”
CBS research chief Dave Poltract explained this through a principle of human cognition, known as the “magical number seven, plus or minus three,” which states that with an unlimited number of options, people tend to choose favorites, to the count of seven (plus or minus three).
Despite the fact that the usage is about the same despite the increase in available apps, there is one area where growth is noted — and that’s the time spent with apps.
The amount of time spent with them has reached 37 hours and 28 minutes in the third quarter of 2014 — a 24 percent increase from the previous year, and a 63 percent increase from the same time period in 2012.
“While there appears to be a consumer threshold to the total number of apps people are willing and/or able to actively use during the month, the time they spend engaging on those apps has increased,” said the Nielsen report. “In fact, the monthly time spent per person has increased from 23 hours and two minutes in fourth-quarter 2012 to 37 hours and 28 minutes in fourth-quarter 2014 — a 63 percent rise in two years! So the reward for being one of the chosen apps is heavy engagement by the user.”
Media Kitchen president Barry Lowenthal added, “The real battle is going to be share of icons on screens.” He indicated that even with the large count of apps available, getting customers to download, install and place them on their mobile screen — in a position where they’ll be consistently used — will determine their overall popularity. (Obviously, popular apps like the Facebook Messenger and Netflix are likely to take prominence, even though Nielsen didn’t go into specific apps.)
We talked previously about how overall app usage increased in 2014 by 76 percent, and these numbers indicate that they’ll continue to rise, based on the time spent with them. It’s just a matter of which apps get the most attention now — and that’s what companies will be shooting for.