App stores only used by minority

Regardless of the media excitement that surrounds mobile apps, a new report from research firm Forrester claims that only a minority of consumers download them on a monthly basis.

Research based on a survey of more than 25,000 European adults--and released a few days ago--indicates that only 4 per cent of all mobile users and 15 per cent of smartphone users download apps at least once per month.

The firm maintains that there is a huge gap between actual usage of apps and the selection of a new smartphone--something that is missed by many consumers. Forrester's report claims that over 20 per cent of all European mobile users consider apps to be an important feature when choosing a new cell phone.

Unsurprisingly, the exception to this rule is Apple, with 64 per cent of European iPhone users downloading apps on a monthly basis.

But while the numbers look impressive--more than five billion downloads and US$1 billion paid to developers in the two years since the launch of the Apple App Store--Forrester analyst Thomas Husson expects that the limited number of paid apps means it is likely that a significant number of independent developers have not recouped their investments. Article