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Do you really need that app?

Every day we spend a minimum of 90 minutes online. I’m not talking about those who are online junkies or have to be online for work purposes (which is mostly everyone I know).

One hour and a half that we possible spend looking at our phone for no other reason than browsing social media or checking for videos of cats on YouTube (I plead guilty on this one but cats are cats and one simply cannot resist them).

Other than entertainment purposes, we want to be on top of every possible trend and life hack. Especially when it comes to technology and, in a particular case, mobile apps, we like to be informed.

After all, we don’t want to be kept in the dark about the next big thing and miss the opportunity to discover THE app.

But do we really use all of those apps?

I was intrigued by this question and decided to do a little digging. These are the numbers that appear in a study conducted by Google in 2014:

36: the number of apps an average person has on their smartphone;

26: the percentage of those apps that are actually being used every day;

1 out of 3: number of people who have stopped using or uninstalled mobile apps because they lost interest.

These numbers were collected almost 4 years ago. Nowadays, the app industry is even bigger, which means more offer, and more people downloading. However, to my understanding, mobile applications are losing the importance they once had.

Why mobile apps are so important yet so overrated

According to Google Insights, this year more than 50% of the online population in 63 different countries, use their mobile devices to access the internet.

A great deal of these countries didn’t experience device shift; they are introduced to the online world through their smartphones. So it makes perfect sense that brands prepare themselves for these markets by launching apps that allow an intuitive and problem-free navigation.

However, in markets like Europe, people are constantly being overflowed with information and new solutions from businesses every day. They get tones of ads, newsletters, and pop-ups telling them how, by installing this great new app, they will have a lifetime supply of colorful toilet paper (of course I just made that up).

So, more than ever, people are getting tired of so many apps that usually only serve a one-time purpose for them, and aren’t any different from the ones that already exist. Particularly when there are so many out there and we can just install and uninstall as we please.

Do it with meaning or don’t do it at all

Companies are going crazy about apps. They believe that an app can be their golden egg goose and they will become millionaires overnight. It’s the “he did it so I can do it too” mentality, which is often wrong.

I’m not against mobile apps, but consumers are more demanding than ever and I’m one of them. It needs to be a killer app with a least one of the following core function: 1) make peoples’ lives easier; 2) delivery customized and personalized content; 3) to continuously surprise users.

Two apps that represent this very well are Monzo and Citymapper.

The first one is a London company that describe themselves has “building a new kind of bank. One that lives on your smartphone, and that’s built for the way we live today. By solving your problems, treating you fairly and being totally transparent, we believe that we can make banking better.”

They realized what was missing in traditional banking and gave it to clients.

Citymapper, on the other hand, is an app that was created in an already crowded market of transportation apps. Still, it manages to strive because, unlike the competitors, is more accurate and has an informal communication, something that appeals to users.

So, if you work for a company or you believe you have a business idea that can be translated into an app, think twice. Make sure you are putting something out there that will have a big enough differentiator factor. Otherwise, it will be just another fish in a crowded ocean.




Melted was born in 2017. I was facing some hard time regarding my profession, but I wanted to push forward and inspire others to do the same. So I put my fears aside, and several huge cups of coffee later, this project was born. It moved exclusively to Medium in 2021.

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Natacha Oliveira

Natacha Oliveira

Independent Designer. Pancake lover. Proud owner of two sassy cats and don Gata studio 🤓🐾

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