The average person has over 100 apps on their smartphone these days, but people far from use all of them. In fact, most people use only 20-30 apps on a regular basis.

When I was at Nielsen I dug into this kind of data on a regular basis, and have since seen a lot of data form other sources that pretty much show the same thing. One thing that is apparent is the difference between ages when it comes to app consumption and time spent using the device, with millennials leading in the later category.

Infographic: Monthly Mobile App Usage in the U.S.  | Statista

What I’ve also seen is a further segmentation of people and how they use their smartphone and the apps on it. As smartphone usage grew, so did the interest in apps and the quantity of them on the device. But as people’s needs mature, some are taking a “less is more” attitude when it comes to organizing their on device experience.

Here are some key usage segments that have recently emerged:

Newbies– typically on their first smartphone with 30-50 apps on the device; basically the apps out of the box with a good assortment they’ve amassed from recent visits to the app store.

Connectors– typically using their third or fourth smartphone, with at least 70-100 apps on their device, though a core set of 20-30 apps are primary. A large number of app categories are represented both on the device and on a monthly usage basis.

Collectors– typically on their first or second device (but could be beyond that) and have the largest assortment of apps, typically over 70, and many times over 100.  For these people, discovery is everything when it comes to new apps.

Minimalists– typically are beyond their second or third device, and previously went the collector route, but have retrenched their app strategy and triaged many, cutting back to just 20-25 on their device, in order to exhibit simplicity. Most of the apps also are complimentary and are used in bunches to complete various tasks.

Age also plays an important factor as well, with real differences seen between Millennials and older generations. Understanding different usage types and what makes them tick is key for app developers, platform providers, advertisers, and anyone who operates within today’s mobile ecosystem.

– Randy Giusto