App apathy

Earlier this week we wrote about the state of the app economy and the idea of how bundling and unbundling help define how software has progressed over time. Not only on the smartphone but on the PC before. Some additional data help demonstrate how the app economy has become somewhat satiated, or some might say stagnant over time.

Dan Frommer at Quartz citing a comScore report notes that nearly two-thirds of smartphone users don’t download any new applications in a month.

download 0814 624x281 App apathy

There are a number of explanations for this but it may simply be the case that most users have their needs met by the most used apps. Frommer writes:

One possible explanation is that people just don’t need that many apps, and the apps people already have are more than suitable for most functions. Almost all smartphone owners use apps, and a “staggering 42% of all app time spent on smartphones occurs on the individual’s single most used app,” comScore reports. New apps come and go, especially games, but perhaps breakthrough apps will be increasingly rare. A look at the top 25 most-used apps reflects mostly mature companies, including Facebook, Google, Pandora, and Yahoo.

Facebook ($FB) has taken the approach to be a “mobile conglomerate” buying insurgent apps that might threaten their core services. Rather than integrating them Facebook has kept Instagram and WhatsApp separate for now. Google ($GOOG) has six different apps that show up on the list of the top 25 most-used apps. Yahoo ($YHOO) has three.

What we are seeing is “stealth bundling.” Companies buying services for strategic and competitive reasons but choosing not to explicitly bundle them together like happens in other markets. A company like Uber is taking a different tack opening up its API to third parties in order to increase its reach. Whether it is explicit or by stealth companies might take they are trying to increase their share of your mobile spending. So for now, bundling is on the rise.

Abnormal Returns is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to If you click on my links and buy anything, even something other than the product advertised, I earn a small commission, yet you don't pay any extra. Thank you for your support.

The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Tadas ViskantaAbnormal Returns has over its seven-year life become a fixture in the financial blogosphere. Over thousands of posts we have striven to bring the best of the financial blogosphere to readers. In that time the idea of a “forecast-free investment blog” remains as useful as it did six years ago. More »

  • StockTwits Follow Abnormal Returns on StockTwits Follow Abnormal Returns on Twitter Follow StockTwits on Facebook Subscribe to Abnormal Returns RSS via Email Subscribe to Abnormal Returns RSS
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Join StockTwits
  • Get Updates!

    100% Privacy. We don't spam.