iPhone devotees, Windows lovers and Android enthusiasts are everywhere – according to AdMedia Partners, 56% of Americans now own a smartphone. Chatting with friends is only one of the many things people use their phones for these days. With mobile apps for playing games, checking sports scores, managing personal finances and more, mobile technology helps users access their entertainment, news, business tasks and daily scheduling all in one place. Plus, consumers are spending an increasing amount of time on mobile apps. According to ABI Research, it’s now a $27 billion industry and still growing. All of those apps means that the public’s expectations are growing, too. Today, people want fast, simple mobile apps that combine major functionality with high performance.
Popular and Unpopular Apps
Smartphone owners in the U.S. spend 25 hours every month on mobile apps and only four hours per month on the mobile Web. Social and gaming apps are the two most popular niches. However, these kinds of apps also have the worst feedback from consumers. While people spend the most time on these types of apps, they don’t seem to be satisfied with them. On the other hand, shopping apps are used much less often, but consumer sentiment is the highest. Also, apps that help with health, fitness and productivity have very high feedback despite not being used often. The positive feedback is likely because these apps actually benefit a person’s day instead of only sucking up their time. Generally, app users view brands that have mobile apps more favorably than those that don’t.
Women’s Views vs. Men’s Views
Women view apps much differently than men when it comes to certain aspects. Simplicity and an interface that’s easy to use are the two most important app characteristics to a woman – getting to the end result quickly and as easily as possible is their main consideration. Men, on the other hand, are mainly interested in functionality and whether or not the app serves its primary purpose; ease of use is the least important aspect to them. Both genders, though, feel that performance and speed are equally important.
The Summertime Dip
Consumer attitudes towards apps tend to drop during the summer months. Health and fitness, gaming and even shopping apps are the most prone to this decline. However, interest in and sentiment for sports apps tend to rise when the weather heats up. These trends coincide with summertime events. For example, consumers probably want to head to the beach instead of the gym when the sun’s blaring down, which in turn makes their sentiment for health club apps lower.
Discovering Consumer Opinions
Where does consumer feedback actually come from? Mobile app users are chatting across various types of communication platforms. Most of them are voicing their opinions on social networks. A high percentage of them are also airing both their grievances and praise on forums.
Do mobile apps really make us happy? Yes and no, depending on the type of app we’re using and why we’re using it. The bottom line is that Americans are using mobile apps more than ever before and this trend is probably only going to get stronger. Love them or hate them, we rely on mobile apps. According to Microsoft Tag 2012, mobile Internet use is going to take over desktop Internet use by next year.
Increased use leads to raised expectations, and since we won’t stop using apps, developers and businesses have to figure out consumer opinions. Then, targeted, responsive mobile apps have to be created. Overall, it’s not possible to create a “one size fits all” app, something that businesses really need to understand. An app has to satisfy a consumer’s individual needs, including their changing needs based on the time of year.