50 Percent of US Adults have Apps on Their Phone

More US adults have apps on their cell phones and more are willing to pay for these apps

Content consumption looks much different than it did five years ago. The mobile device markets are growing at an amazing rate and publishers can take advantage of this trend.

Last week I wrote an article on how mobile web usage is expected to surpass desktop web browsing by 2015. Not only is there growth among the web usage on mobile devices, Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that the number of “adult cell phone owners who have downloaded an app on their phone has nearly doubled in the past two years – rising from 22% in September 2009 to 38% in August 2011.”

Those who have downloaded apps and those who purchased phones with apps already equipped now combine for 50 percent of US adult cell phone owners.

Similarly, the tablet market is interested in downloading apps as 75% of tablet owners have reported downloading an app. According to the study, “this equates to 8% of all US adults.

Statistics on app usage

Although the ownership of apps has grown, it doesn’t necessarily equate to app usage.

Out of cell phone owners with apps, “roughly half of this group (51%) use a handful of apps at least once a week.”

The most active app users, referred to as “power users”, use six or more apps per week. This group accounts for almost a third of the population of app users.

Tablet owners have a higher app usage rate as 39% report using six or more apps each week.

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Paying for apps

Some data sure to please online publishers is that people are willing to pay for apps. According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, “16% of all US adults have ever paid for an app, compared with 13% in May 2010.”

Those who have paid for apps are more likely to spend $5 or less, as more than half have reported this. Although cheaper apps seem to be more popular, 17% have spent more than $20 for a single app.

Take away for publishers

Mobile web browsing is growing, more US adults have apps on their cell phones and more people are willing to pay for apps – some are even willing to spend $20 or more.

Furthermore, 74% of the apps US adults download provide “regular updates on news, weather, sports or stocks” and 64% download apps that help them learn about topics that interest them. This is the space that niche publishers reside in and can reach their audiences through.

Creating apps is a direction that publishers should go. Some can be free while other premium apps, which provide more content and a multimedia experience, can be a paid option. Either way, your content should be made available to your audience on mobile devices, as all signs point to continued growth in that market.


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