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Online discounter raises alarm bells for mobile phone applications development

A study by a UK discount website has discovered that just less than three-quarters of a billion pounds will be wasted in 2010 alone by smartphone users downloading applications for their handsets that they do not use beyond the initial download. 

According to a study of 1,476 British mobile phone owners, four fifths or 79% say they are ‘highly unlikely’ to use applications they have paid to download more than once.

The survey, commissioned by the UK discount voucher code website,, has found that just 9% of smartphone users have not paid to download an ‘app’ or game.

The application industry, which is set to be worth £4.3 billion through 2010 according to research firm Gartner, is dominated by Apple, a company that enjoys more than 90% of the market share. More than 3 billion applications were downloaded in 2009, and an estimated 4.5 billion will be downloaded throughout 2010.

Failing to capitalise on untapped market

There are approximately 50m smartphone users globally, 11 million of which are in the UK. Given that four fifths of smartphone owners say that they are highly unlikely to use applications or games they download, the online discounter said this therefore indicates that £747.3m will be spent on applications that are not used beyond first download in 2010.

A further 27% of people said they had chosen their particular smartphone for the range of mobile applications they knew was available on that handset. And a fifth (19%) of respondents said they downloaded at least one application every week.

The average cost of an application through Apple’s Appstore is £1.85, according to aggregated figures compiled by online community,

Games also proved to be a novelty for smartphone users, with 62% admitting that they had games on their mobile phone that they had not played since downloading. The average game via Apple’s Appstore costs £0.81.

Mark Pearson, managing director at, said: “Mobile applications have become the mobile equivalent of impulse buys. Their relatively low cost means that despite the fact that there are millions to choose from; only a certain percentage will ever be used beyond the initial download, as the novelty soon wears off.”

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