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Pew/Nielsen: The Rise of Apps Culture

The latest Pew report on ‘apps culture’ is quite rich. Here is a summary of stuff that I found interesting.

The Rise of Apps Culture >
by Kristen Purcell, Roger Entner, Nichole Henderson
Sep 14, 2010

“Some 35% of U.S. adults have software applications or “apps” on their phones, yet only 24% of adults use those apps. Many adults who have apps on their phones, particularly older adults, do not use them, and 11% of cell owners are not sure if their phone is equipped with apps.

Among cell phone owners, 29% have downloaded apps to their phone and 13% have paid to download apps.

“An apps culture is clearly emerging among some cell phone users, particularly men and young adults,” said Kristen Purcell, Associate Director for Research at the Pew Internet Project. “Still, it is clear that this is the early stage of adoption when many cell owners do not know what their phone can do. The apps market seems somewhat ahead of a majority of adult cell phone users.”

“This is a pretty remarkable tech-adoption story, if you consider that there was no apps culture until two years ago,” said Roger Entner, co-author of the report and Senior Vice President and Head of Research and Insights for Telecom Practice at Nielsen. “Every metric we capture shows a widening embrace of all kinds of apps by a widening population. It’s too early to say what this will eventually amount to, but not too early to say that this is an important new part of the technology world of many Americans.””

So tech adoption for apps and smartphones is happening at different paces in differing demographics. Interesting. This is both an opportunity and a disruption. If your library serves fewer men than wonen you have an opportunity to attract more male users. If your library serves more males, then you have a new potential expectation about apps.

The full report is here (46 page PDF)

Some soundbites, charts and analytical links:

FastCompany: Only 13% of Adults Pay for Apps

“Apple is selling some 17 million apps per day, and they may begin to outsell music downloads by the end of this year. Android too is catching up to iTunes’ 250,000 apps, boasting about 70,000, and BlackBerry isn’t far behind”

“Only around 35% of adult cell phone owners have apps on their phone (including preloaded apps), and only 24% actually use them. Although apps have generated huge profits for developers, they still rank very low on cell phone users’ mobile activities. Texting and taking pictures are now common among adults–more than 70% use these features–but downloading apps still has a long way to go: Just 29% of adult cell-phone owners have downloaded apps, a percentage lower than recording video and playing music.”

ReadWriteWeb: 1 in 3 Adults Now Have Apps on Their Phones – Many Don’t Use Them

Business Insider:
CHART OF THE DAY: Apps Don’t Matter For 70% Of Cellphone Users

Read more:

Considering that it has only been a few years since phone ‘app culture’ was introduced as an option, it seems to be growing nicely but apparently not fast enough for some.


Posted on: September 21, 2010, 8:26 am Category: Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I’m pretty sure that phone applications have been around for more than two years. My phone was manufactured in 2005 or 2006 and it has a section for apps. The iPhone, on the other hand, has been around for about two years. Perhaps the statisticians interest in the increase in apps downloads is due to the fact that iTunes has standardized them and made them cool?