US Mobile Device Owners Aren’t Just Discovering Apps Through the App Store

November 26, 2019

Smartphone apps now account for a whopping two-thirds (63%) of time spent with digital media in the US. So where are consumers discovering the apps they download? The latest research from Comscore reveals that US consumers aren’t just finding apps through the app store.

It’s true that two-fifths (40%) of the smartphone and tablet owners (ages 13-years-old and older) surveyed who have downloaded apps say that they discover those apps by searching the app store. And another 27% say they discover apps through the Top List in the app store.

Yet app discovery methods extend far beyond the app store.

With word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family influencing purchase behavior for anything from big-ticket items to what audio or video content to stream, it’s not surprising that 3 in 10 respondents have discovered apps through family or friends. Another quarter (25%) say they have discovered apps from mobile ads in a browser or another app, while 24% also came across apps they were interested in via comments or reviews on social media.

It also appears that younger consumers are the most prone to seeking out new apps. The younger generations (ages 13-34-years-old) all over-index for app discovery in the US, with 13-17-year-olds (+44%), 18-24-year-olds (+38%) and 25-34-year-olds (+34%) all being far more likely than average to discover apps. Adults 35-year-olds and older, on the other hand, are much less likely to discover apps via any of the surveyed methods.

Nonetheless, while consumers are discovering apps, they aren’t necessarily downloading them. Indeed, getting downloads is more of a challenge. Per Comscore’s findings, only one-third (32.4%) of respondents say they have downloaded any number of apps. Of those respondents, about half are only downloading one (8.9%) or two (7.8%) apps.

The percentage of mobile owners who say they do not download apps has increased since 2017, when Comscore published a similar report. Since then, the share of mobile owners who claim to not download apps has risen from 51% to 67%.

The full Comscore report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Results are based on Comscore MMXⓇ Multi-Platform, Total Minutes, June 2017 and June 2019, US and Comscore Media MetrixⓇ, Total Minutes, June 2017 and June 2019, US.

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