Is there still an app for that? App fatigue, what is it?

Written by Nicole Jowett


app fatigue

‘App fatigue’ is a phrase coined to describe how consumers are growing tired of apps: tired of choosing between so many seemingly identical options, tired of constant notifications, tired of having an app to monitor and dictate almost every part of their lives.

I used to have a ridiculous number of apps on my phone. I had an app for just about everything, even if I never used them. Heck, I even had an app that looked like a pint of beer (if you know, you know!) When more apps started to be developed, we wanted an app that did this and that, ones that really did make our phone a ‘smart’ phone and we wanted every new game we could find so we had hours of entertainment right in the palm of our hands.

However, times are changing and people are keeping the number of apps on their phone to a minimum. We no longer feel the need to have, or at least keep, an app for everything. According to a survey carried out by Adjust, apps are deleted an average of 5.8 days after they are downloaded, with entertainment apps standing the least chance of surviving – on average they are binned after just one day.

There are a whopping 2.8 million apps on the Google Play Store alone and if you’re searching for one app, you can guarantee that you’ll find at least 10 that offer similar services.

I find myself downloading an app to have a look at clothing websites and when I’m done, I’ll just delete it because I don’t know when I’m going to need it again. When I went abroad, I would download the travel agent’s app for the sake of looking at a countdown that I was never bothered about and an itinerary that I already knew, so of course they were deleted immediately after my holiday!

Having had a quick look through my phone, the only apps I would say are permanent fixtures are the ones for online banking, social media and Amazon; you always need Amazon for something, right?! I have a select few games and other apps that I know I will just delete as soon as I get bored of them.

Developers need to go back to the drawing board. In my opinion, apps need to serve more than one purpose, they need to offer something that you cannot do anywhere else or to provide a service that makes a process easier for the user. For example, I use online banking in an app because it is easier than having to log in through a browser every time you need it.

The days of sending the ‘come back, we miss you!’ push notifications are long gone. If we don’t have a purpose for ‘coming back’, you’re just going to remind us that we probably should delete that app because we haven’t used it in a while.

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