App industry concerns: a third of UK users do not download any apps

The demand for smartphone apps is on the wane according to the latest research.

A report by Deloitte indicates that the average number of apps downloaded per user per month has declined considerably over the past year.

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Nearly a third of smartphone users in the UK do not download any apps in a typical month, an increase from less than one in five in 2013.

As reported by The Telegraph, even for users that are likely to download smartphone apps, the number downloaded per month has decreased from 2.32 to 1.82.

However, while this may suggest that the app market itself is decreasing, Deloitte claim that this is not the case. Instead, the decline is the result of more smartphone users over the age of 50, who are less interested in downloaded additional software.

Paul Lee, head of research for technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte, said, "The new adopters of smartphones use them mostly for text messaging. When you look at who uses IM (instant messaging) services like WhatsApp and WeChat, it tends to be younger age groups and it declines very steeply with age."

The report also found that, amongst younger users, smartphone owners will normally have a preferred set of apps finalised after a few months of use.

The company's findings will do little to appease concerns that the majority of profitable apps are monopolised by a small handful of software companies. Facebook, for example, acquired Instagram for $1 billion (£600 million) in 2012 and WhatsApp for $19 billion (£11 billion) earlier this year.

While the latest research by Google suggests that the app industry is set to contribute £30 billion to the UK economy by 2025, Phil Barnett of Good Technology claims that developers will have to become more innovative to attract users.

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"The 'if in doubt download it' attitude to consumer apps is clearly on the decline," he said.