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App Usage Inches Up in Germany

Apps are more popular than ever, but downloads have fallen

July 25, 2016 | Mobile

Germany boasted an estimated 49 million smartphones in April 2016; 51% of males ages 13 and older, and 49% of females in that age group owned at least one advanced handset, according to data from comScore MobiLens. This population is still growing. eMarketer predicts that the number of smartphone owners of any age in Germany will rise by 11.1% this year—a higher rate than the average across Western Europe.

Number of Apps Downloaded by Smartphone Owners in Germany, April 2016 (% of total)

Virtually all these consumers are mobile app users, too. comScore reported that 86.9% of smartphone owners used an app in the three months prior to polling, compared with 85.5% during the equivalent period in 2015.

The downside for advertisers trying to claim space on mobile phone screens is that most smartphone users in Germany seem quite content with their existing apps, and aren’t strongly inclined to download new ones. They already have apps for key services and social networks such as Facebook—which was present on the smartphones of one in four comScore respondents.

Overall, just 33.9% of the sample said they downloaded a new app to their phones during the three months to April 2016, a slight decrease from the 34.8% who had done so in the same period of last year.

This suggests that Germany isn’t a very rewarding market for new app offerings—at least, brands have to overcome significant hurdles to win consumer attention. That’s a sharp contrast with the US, for example, according to July 2016 data from AYTM Market Research. Its poll of US adult smartphone owners found that over 80% had downloaded a new app in the previous three months.

Even when smartphone owners in Germany do adopt new apps, they’re rather choosy. Of all the phone users comScore polled, 12.1% had acquired a single app in the three-month survey period, while 9.4% had downloaded two.

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