Acting on reports of a slowdown in app downloads and a new philosophy among developers to work in concert with notification functions on phones, Yahoo’s Flurry mobile analytics division did a study to see what was what. The provider of mobile analytics to some 170,000 developers discovered a peculiar new species of mobile user that exists irrespective of any new functionalities on the part of apps: the install addict.
Flurry found that, though average monthly app downloads slipped from 8.9 in 2011 to 8.6 in 2012, they have since rebounded and held steady at 8.8. Buoying these numbers were the 20% of mobile users who downloaded 17-plus apps a month—the install addicts. More than half of users actually downloaded fewer than eight apps a month, with 20% downloading fewer than four.
Digging deeper into the 100,000-device sample it tapped for the study, Flurry found that females over-indexed as addicts by 10%. App-aholics also tended to be young. Users in the 13-17 and 18-25 age groups over-indexed as addicts by more than 40%, but, curiously, so did people in the 35-54 grouping. Users 25-34 under-indexed for app addiction by 53%. That blip is explained by the fact that parents over-indexed for high downloads, along with social enthusiasts and gamers.
“It is becoming clearer to us that what we call family devices –or shared devices or hand-me-down devices–make up a good chunk of the install addicts audience,” says Simon Khalaf, Flurry’s VP of products. “Such devices are for the mother or the father, but the children have access to them and visit the app stores and download their new favorite apps.”
Khalaf says that, while download levels are always high during the holiday season, app developers can look forward to healthy app-etites on the part of mobile users well into the new year. “They simply need to keep hoping for install addiction to keep going strong,” he says.