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Users not so appy, although in-app spending continues to rise


via Flickr © 401(K) 2013 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

For UK end-users the shine may be beginning to come off the mobile apps craze, although the value of in-app purchasing is still growing at a healthy clip.  A report from bespoke application creation specialist Conjure, shows that while the per-head revenue driven by consumer brand apps is still increasing by about 24 per cent each year (£89 per head, rounding out to £4.04 billion and representing 0.3 per cent of UK consumption) the days of promiscuous app downloading are over.

Instead users are being much more considered about which apps they’ll bother downloading and using, and which they’ll bin if they don’t come up to expectations or if they start to annoy - especially through too many needless attempts at ‘engagement’.

It appears by their responses that users are less keen on engaging or being engaged (a fancy term for “trying to get you to spend”); less keen on trying out wacky new apps; and just generally less excited by the whole “app experience.” As the report authors say, all the signs are that brand apps have just become the “new normal”.

So while users are used to and trust in-app purchases and tend to use their favourites more  year after year, they’re also now set in their ways, concentrating on just a few tried and trusted favourite apps - in evidence the average number of downloads has hardly risen (from 5.5 to 5.9 per year), while the time spent on them has grown.

As expected iPhone users are more app happy and ready to splash the cash than Android owners: iOS users average an annual £89.36 spend, while Android owners scrape together an average of £62.80.

So why the slight cooling overall towards consumer brand apps?  It appears that too many promise much and deliver little. Users say the most annoying things are: bothersome notifications (this is the number one reason consumers abandon apps put out by brands); and its close relative, ‘repetitive or irrelevant’ notifications. Advice to brands deploying apps: Shhhhhh.

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