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More Than Half of App Downloaders Do It For Free




You have a mobile phone, right? How many apps are on it? How many did you use today? How many did you pay for?

If you’re typical, each answer should be a smaller number than the one before it.

Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project says that we’ve crossed the halfway point for mobile phone app usage. A full 50% of all adult cell phone owners have apps. That’s double where we were only two years ago.

But even with the rise in usage, the demographic remains the same. App users are younger, more educated, upwardly mobile urban or suburbanite. Adding tablets into the mix hasn’t changed that at all. The only real difference is that women have nearly caught up to men in regard to app downloads.

So downloads are up, but usage is still a mixed bag. 51% of users said they use a handful of apps at least once a week. 31% said they use six or more on a weekly basis. Even so, we all have many more apps that we rarely, if ever, use.

Maybe this is why only 46% of downloaders have shelled out hard cash for the privilege. Of those people, more than half spent under $5. Personally, I’ve only ever paid more than $5 for one app (Pages) and it stressed me out to do so. It’s silly, since I’ll drop more than that on a fast food lunch without blinking, but apps have a perceived price point ceiling and $5 is it.

If you’re selling an app, then the best demographic to aim for are male, urban, college-graduates over 30 who make more than $50,000 a year. A popular demographic, and not just for apps!

What kinds of apps are most popular? Games still get the most use and they’re one of the few apps that people are willing to pay for on a regular basis. Now take a look at this chart. This is the percentage of people in each demo who downloaded a shopping app.

I guess real men do shop online.

If you’re in the mobile app biz, or even thinking about getting into it, download the free report from Pew. It’s loaded with detailed information about what’s working and what isn’t. All you have to do is click here, no app required unless you’re reading this on a tablet in which case. . . you know the drill. . . there is an app for that.