Over half of apps rarely used, Ofcom reports

App icons coming out of a phone

Around half of the apps downloaded onto smartphones and tablets are never used, according to research carried out by Ofcom.

The survey found that, while smartphone users have an average of 23 apps on their phones, only 10 are regularly used. Just under half of mobile phone users (48 per cent) say they download apps on their mobile phone (up from 37 per cent in 2012).

However, in the research that polled 2,674 UK adults, it found a clear preference for using apps rather than browsers for gaming, downloading videos and music, and half of app users who look at news said they prefer to use an app (50 per cent vs. 36 per cent who prefer a browser). Furthermore, app users prefer to use browsers for shopping online and for looking for information (50 per cent and 62 per cent, respectively).

The survey also looked into other areas of online behaviour in the UK. It found a six per cent increase since 2012 in the number of people using mobile devices to access the internet. The figure now stands at 59 per cent.

The number of adults using tablets to go online has almost doubled from 16 per cent in 2012 to 30 per cent in 2013. But desktop computers and laptops continue to be the most popular gateways to the internet with 78 per cent of the UK population using these devices.

The number of silver surfers continues to rise, with an increase of a quarter over the past year (42 per cent compared with 33 per cent in 2012) while nearly all 16-24s and 25-34s are now online (98 per cent). Overall, the internet is accessed by 83 per cent of the UK population.

The survey found two-thirds (66 per cent) of online adults say they have a current social networking site profile, up two per cent since 2012 (64 per cent). Nearly all with a current profile (96 per cent) have one on Facebook, although the incidence of having only a Facebook profile has fallen to 43 per cent in 2013 compared to 53 per cent in 2012.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.