Mobile app use has increased dramatically over the past few years.
A recent study by the Pew Internet Project reports that approximately 82 percent of U.S. adults use a mobile phone and 35 percent of those adults have mobile phones capable of running software applications, or apps. These apps range from entertainment apps, such as games and media players, to apps that help people find information, such as maps, weather, and news. Surprisingly, the study finds that despite the large number of people using app capable phones, only about one in four users use those apps. Perhaps most surprisingly, 10 percent of those adults are not even sure if their phones can run apps. These findings indicate that while mobile app use is becoming increasingly popular, it is still in its early stages of development.
“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.”
While 24 percent of adults use apps on their mobile phones, app use still ranks relatively low when compared to the other uses of mobile phones. The study found that taking pictures and texting are far and away the most popular applications: 76 percent of adults take pictures, and 72 percent of adults text.
“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.”