Thinking of hiring an app developer at your agency? Well, if a new study is to be believed, you need not bother.
According to new research by tech marketing firm Gartner, we’ve reached peak-app and are now entering “the beginning of the post-app era”.
The Gartner survey – based on respondents from the US, UK and China – did find that the number of consumers using messaging apps and personal assistant apps is continuing to grow.
The survey showed that 35 per cent of respondents said they used virtual personal assistants (VPAs) in 2016, up 4 per cent from 2015. Seventy one per cent of respondents used messaging apps, a three per cent increase in 2016.
Top 5 Smartphone Apps and Personal Assistant Apps Usage, 2015
and 2016, U.S., U.K. and China
Commenting on the study, Gartner’s research director Jessica Ekholm said: “We are witnessing the beginning of the post-app era based on the evidence that users are starting to use fewer apps actively on their smartphones.
“At the end of 2016, only 33 per cent of survey respondents used six to 10 apps a month, which is down 6.2 per cent from a year ago.”
“More importantly users want rich and engaging app experiences and are increasingly looking for apps that can offer a multitude of services without users having to leave the app itself. This supports the move toward messaging and VPAs, and ultimately the post-app era,” Ekholm said.
VPAs will replace the usage of some apps
Siri and Google Now were the most used VPAs among US and UK respondents in 2016. They were both used primarily to check the weather forecast (70 per cent), find nearby or popular places to visit (44 per cent), and read breaking news or other news stories (44 per cent).
The survey also showed that the conversational interfaces provided by VPAs – ready to serve and capable of complex actions – have the potential to replace some traditional apps. Users will shortcut apps by using VPAs to get fast information in a consolidated manner.
Ekholm recommended that brands and app providers find new ways of reaching their users. “Being able to enhance services and introduce new experiences into messaging platforms without the user having to download further apps makes them critical real estate for innovation,” Ekholm said.
Messaging apps are catching up with social networks
Facebook Messenger (81 per cent) and WhatsApp (61 per cent) remain the most used mobile messaging apps among US and UK respondents. In China, WeChat (95 per cent) maintain their leading position. Messenger apps have become incredibly “sticky” with users with 72 per cent of mobile messenger survey respondents using the app at least once per day.
“The conversational interface is not replacing apps, but it’s enhancing the way users access them,” said Ekholm. “We expect messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Line or Facebook Messenger to become increasingly engaging and rich as more features are added to them, whether creating more engaging user-generated videos, chatting with customer services, or having more e-commerce possibilities within the app itself.”
Allowing developers and businesses to integrate bots on social platforms, removing the need for users to switch between apps, has the potential to transform workflows. “This would allow companies that have chatbots to improve touch-points, help customer service efforts and ultimately help fuel sales revenue,” Ekholm concluded.