Are We Suffering from Mobile App Burnout?

The New York Times’ Jenna Wortham thinks we are. She has about 259 apps installed on her iPhone. While I have roughly 170, I do have to agree with her: I hardly use 20–25 apps on a regular basis.

A Nielsen report shed some light on how the “Appnation” is performing: In just a year, the average number of apps installed on smartphones jumped from 32 to 41, which shows the high demand for apps. While Nielsen has the numbers, Nuance tries to find some answers. There are two reasons why consumers love mobile devices: convenience and immediacy. You can get information faster using your iPhone or iPad than you can using a PC — if you have a good app for the task.

That’s why the number of app downloads per month per average user is growing. But now comes the bad news, which Nuance noticed some while ago: Many apps are quickly abandoned, especially free ones. For instance, fewer than 5% of smartphone owners are still using free apps a month after downloading them, the Nuance study highlights.

The App Store has recently surpassed the 700,000-app milestone, with the most recent numbers showing 775,000 active iOS apps in the store. But there are some things that haven’t changed — the top five apps smartphone owners use: Facebook, YouTube, Android Market, Google Search and Gmail.

In Wortham’s experience, the apps she uses on a daily basis on her iPhone are Google Maps, Messages, Twitter and Instagram. And that’s about it. After asking her friends about their app usage, she found that she isn’t the only one limiting the number of regularly used apps to below 20. Her findings are in line with multiple app-market reports suggesting that there are roughly 1,000 apps that go mainstream, and the rest become “zombie” apps.

How many apps do you have on your iPhone/iPad, and how many of those do you actually use?

[via NYTimes]