Breaking the fever: Flurry further disproves the theory of app burnout

By Nathaniel Mott , written on April 4, 2013

From The News Desk

Are you sick of downloading applications? Do you tire of installing and deleting scores of free games and apps from your device? Does this gambit pay off if I'm not trying to sell a product afterwards? If you answered "yes" to any of those, congratulations -- you're in the minority.

There was some debate earlier this year over whether consumers are suffering from so-called "app burnout," defined in part by the "symptoms" listed above. I argued that "an over-abundance of apps isn't the same as app burnout," pleading the case that the hundreds of thousands of apps in the App Store allow consumers to experiment with and benefit from the market's sheer breadth.

Still, there was the chance that consumers had actually stopped downloading applications after dealing with less-than-stellar software for too long. According to a report from Flurry, however, that isn't the case -- consumers are actually downloading and using more software than they did in 2010 and 2011.

Flurry reports that device owners on its network, which supports 300,000 applications and over 1 billion monthly active devices, are rapidly replacing old applications with newer ones, as illustrated below:


"That means that 63% of the apps used in Q4 2012 were new, and most likely not even developed in 2011 (or possibly poorly adopted)," Flurry writes in its report. "We believe that with consumers continuing to try so many new apps, the app market is still in early stages and there remains room for innovation as well as breakthrough new applications."

Users aren't downloading these applications and allowing them to sit go unused, either. The number of app launched per day by users on Flurry's network has actually increased since 2010, as seen below:


Smartphone and tablet owners are both downloading and using more applications than they were before, then, leading Flurry to write that "Assertions that people are using fewer apps in 2012 than they did in 2010 appear to be incorrect."

So, despite technology writers' ennui, it seems that the average smartphone user is downloading and using more apps than they were a few years ago, when the App Store was smaller and the novelty of new devices hadn't quite worn off. I'd hate to find out what normalcy looks like if this is how we define app burnout.