Are people downloading less apps these days?

  1. 3 weeks ago

    I have noticed some trends. Younger people today do not seem to be downloading apps and seem content to buy a Macbook Pro and just use Google Docs. Some are even confused over the difference between an app and a file. The concept of seeking out and downloading an app on a desktop OS seems to be a foreign concept to them.

    With that said, has anyone noticed their download counts greatly diminished from years ago? Despite the mac user base perhaps six times bigger than 15 years ago, I am seeing perhaps 100X less downloads on some of my apps.

    How can one market and get exposure when they're a gazzilion apps now?

    Any thoughts on the matter?

  2. Hal G

    Sep 23 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro, XDC Speakers Orlando, FL

    I'm just about 50 and have been digitally downsizing. I recently wiped my MacBook Pro and reinstalled a fraction of the apps I had prior. To your point, I needed to create an Office doc realized I forgot to install Office. I jumped over to Google Docs. I still haven't installed Office and don't see why I need it anymore. Plus Google Docs rocks for concurrent collaboration on documents.

    I find myself being pickier too. Today I wanted a Spotify Mini Player on Mac OS. I tried Web + Chrome Extensions and three Mac Apps. In the end, I deleted them all as they did fit my requirements and will requested an App Store refund for the $5 one I paid for. Funny thing is that I'd pay much more for what I want. That said, I'm back to the huge Spotify window just to be able to see the album cover, artist name, album name, song name, media controls, and the thumbs up button. :(

    Another benefit of downsizing apps is for security. We trust developers and there are more and more apps skimming and selling our data, so it's actually less risky to have fewer apps. After typing and thinking about this, I plan to delete a bunch of those 'I might need it' apps from my iPhone.

    I think we're in a weird place where we can do much of what we do now on either a 'computer' on a 'mobile' device. We can't do everything yet though. On a Mac, we can run apps for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Web. I think you can even run Android apps on Mac. I don't think we can run iOS apps on Mac, except for our own apps via the simulator.

    I focus on Web Apps since they can run just about anywhere. If I need hardware, I can add a Helper App if needed. Native apps make sense when you need to be closer to the hardware. I think PWA apps [ https://medium.com/@deepusnath/4-points-to-keep-in-mind-before-introducing-progressive-web-apps-pwa-to-your-team-8dc66bcf6011 ] seem ideal. I hope the Xojo Web Framework 2 supports PWA...

  3. Roger C

    Sep 23 Lewis Center, OH

    I think users are less willing to pay for apps. IIRC, in the last year the only apps I have paid for are Xojo and App Wrapper subscriptions. I grieve the loss of the shareware model where I could find out if an app suited my needs and then pay for it ONCE and use it forever. It seems that the advertisement model and the subscription model are replacing all other means of monetizing and app. Too bad for the small developer.

  4. Art G

    Sep 23 Prescott AZ

    I use very few 3rd party apps on my Macs. Remember Default Folder? I used it for years but got tired of it breaking every time there was an OS update. The iWorks suite covers my office needs. I'm still running an ancient version of GraphicConverter (5.9!) because it still does what I need. In the last few years the main things I've purchased are 1Password, Quicken, TurboTax, and Pixelmator.

  5. @Art G I use very few 3rd party apps on my Macs. Remember Default Folder? I used it for years but got tired of it breaking every time there was an OS update. The iWorks suite covers my office needs. I'm still running an ancient version of GraphicConverter (5.9!) because it still does what I need. In the last few years the main things I've purchased are 1Password, Quicken, TurboTax, and Pixelmator.

    It's a perfect storm of collapsing app demand and app multiplication on the stores :/

    I am revamping one of my oldest apps at the moment and I am resigned to the fact that it won't make me a lot of money. It's more of not letting one of my legacy projects die. Hopefully for the few users who buy it in the future, it will be valuable to them.

  6. Robert L

    Sep 24 Pre-Release Testers, Xojo Pro

    I'm looking at this world from an enterprise view as that is where my career has been over the last 25+ years (app manager for various multi-billion dollar companies here in Canada). I'm finding more and more companies are wanting SaaS solutions. They seem to like the "low" annual subscription cost vs the large upfront cost of purchasing software. In many of these cases they also get a ready to use solution that doesn't take the IT team months to setup/test/update/etc. Everyone loves instant gratification for their decision.

    I think that is also translated down to our younger users as well. In school, they use Google Docs and Chromebooks...neither requiring downloads. Also, from their perspective, getting a file off of the various mobile app stores is not downloading and installing, because it is one click to them and it works.

    I believe the reality of our development future is SaaS and the "no install" pattern we see in the mobile application stores. I do not think this is bad for small developers...just a change in mindset.

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