People are voracious app downloaders, but the majority of these downloads are only used for a brief amount of time. like people browsing in a bookshop, most apps are discarded within minutes.
But the ones with staying power really do stick. Android phone users spend about 90 minutes a day on their phone, about two-thirds of that on apps, says Monica Bannan of media research firm Nielsen. "We see a very familiar behavior with (iPhone users)."
An app that's retained by 30% of downloaders is considered "sticky," says Anindya Datta, founder of Mobilewalla, an app analytic firm. "We are constantly deleting them. That's why the number of downloads is a very poor measure of how popular an app is," he says, estimating 80% to 90% of apps are eventually deleted.
I don't think it is surprising to find out that people settle on using two or three third party apps regularly. That doesn't mean that apps are not an important part of the smartphone ecosystem. In fat I'd argue the "image" of third party apps is a great big beacon to many people as they look to buy a phone. If it's shining brightly, then people will be attracted to it.
There is more than one part of the app journey to consider. yes, at the final step there might only be a handful of apps, but to get people to that destination you need to go through many towns, including confidence, volume, availability, and discovery.
That's why, even though empirically the "number of apps in the stores" is a rubbish yardstick in many respects, it is vital for the confidence of the users as they purchase their phone; the volume of the Marketplace is a selling point in the store; availability lets them feel that the perfect app for them is out there; and discovery helps them find it.
Only then can you say someone has settled on two favourite apps.
So a great survey, but perhaps one that doesn't look at the whole system.