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Smartphone traffic may have doubled between 2014 and 2016, but the latest study from Adobe suggests that app installs and repeat usage is on the decline.

Reviewing the number of downloads between 2014 and 2016, Adobe found the number of installs has dropped by 5% in Europe. Taking this data, the Adobe Insight Study has predicted countries in Europe, such as the UK and France, will see further decreases as we move towards the close of the decade. Beyond Europe, the US has seen and ever more dramatic drop in app installs with the figures showing a 38% decline since 2014.

So does this mean the death of mobile apps? Not quite. By 2020, as Ericsson’s research suggests, 70% of the world’s population will own a smartphone. With 6.1 billion devices capable of powering apps and technology continually improving, the likelihood is that the market will simply change rather than slump. In fact, what’s more likely is that app installs are down in some instances because of the sheer volume of apps out there.

Less downloads but more apps

According to Statista, Apple and Android have more than 4 million apps combined. With so many available options, there’s a strong chance that some apps don’t make the grade in terms of quality or engagement. We’re now in a buyers’ market which is why consumers can afford to be picky and demand more. This, in turn, has forced developers to respond by introducing more features and functionality.

Take the gaming sector as an example. Today, the top brands not only offer more ways to play, but an array of features designed to keep users engaged and interested. For example, one of the latest innovations in the mobile gaming industry is lottery games. Through the latest apps, players can get access to MegaMillions, the US Powerball and even international lotteries like the EuroMillons. Naturally, the chance to download an app where you can play for millions is enough reason for most people. However, in an age where apps are in abundance, they need to offer something more.

Users now demand added value and additional features

Looking specifically at the Lottoland mobile lottery app, iOS and Android players don’t only get to create an account and play games, but features such as automatic win notifications, gaming history and access to mobile-specific bonuses. In a culture where consumers are demanding more, operators like Lottoland can’t simply stick to the basics. A decade ago it would have been acceptable to offer a mobile portal to a selection of lottery bets. Today, however, players want multiple layers of interaction and that’s where push notifications, added value and everything else comes into play.

Similarly, if you look at the Facebook app now and what it was when it was first released in 2004, the differences are marked. Although the social network doesn’t have a direct rival, when you think about other social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, you can see how they’ve forced Facebook to enhance its app. Indeed, when you download the mobile platform, the latest feature you can access is live streaming. Using your mobile’s camera, you can now start a live stream and have everyone from your own network of friends to Facebook at large watch you in real time. Aside from tapping into the trends made popular by Snapchat and the like, this feature gives the app more depth and that’s the crucial point here.

Competition will lead to better apps


If Adobe’s prediction is correct then developers need to adapt. As a market becomes more competitive, innovations and added value are what separate companies. In this instance, if fewer apps are being downloaded then those that don’t evolve are the ones that will get left on the shelf. For users, this is great news because it will raise the overall level of quality present within the industry and make apps better which can only be a good thing.


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