20 Million Brits Can’t Live Without Social Media Apps & That’s Great News for Businesses

New Research reveals that Brits love their staple social media apps. To tap into it and create business opportunities, brands are creating their own apps on low-code/no-code platforms. But leaders want to know how to make these self-made apps as effective as one made by a team of developers.

It’s been revealed that a significant proportion of the UK public claim they can’t imagine life without their social media apps. In a new study commissioned by Builder.ai, analysts found that of all the apps on their smart devices, Brits only use an average of 58% of their apps. But of that 58%, individuals have a strong preference for social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

With such a personal attachment to smart devices, apps, and social media now prevalent, what does this mean for the future of business? And how are Brits actually interacting with apps?

How Has User App Usage & Behaviour Changed?

The survey revealed that while the appetite for apps is large and growing – some other studies suggest the world will have 7.49 billion mobile users and 200 billion app downloads by 2025, a 50% jump from 2021 – not all apps that users download, however, are used. In fact, while the average Brit uses 10 apps, 32% say they use fewer than five. Given that the typical Brit has just 17 apps on their phone, this means a large proportion of apps go unused, meaning a significant amount of business investment in apps results in underperformance.  

Social media apps dominate the field, with 35% of users claiming they couldn’t live without them. This rises to 45% of Gen Z users, meaning that the future of brand/consumer relations must gear heavily towards social media to ensure comms are maintained. Finance apps used to undertake day-to-day banking (34%) and entertainment apps such as Netflix and Spotify (30%) are the next most popular categories after social media apps. Among 16–24-year-olds, 40% claim they wouldn’t be able to live without entertainment apps. 

In addition to using apps for pleasure, 33% of users now claim that they use mobile apps for business purposes. Hybrid working is having a clear impact on how people use apps on their phones, but this also has a generational slant; 51% of 16-24-year-olds and 49% of 25-34-year-olds claim they use apps for business. 

The shift towards hybrid working was fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic, but it wasn’t just the business world that saw shifts in user behaviour. Of the respondents, 30% claimed they downloaded a food delivery app for the first time during the pandemic. Others have since started using apps for shopping (39%), money management (27%), healthcare (26%), work (15%), and education (13%). 

Social media apps dominate the field, with 35% of users claiming they couldn’t live without them. This rises to 45% of Gen Z users, meaning that the future of brand/consumer relations must gear heavily towards social media to ensure comms are maintained.

Over Half of Brits Still Won’t Pay for an App

Despite the prevalent use of apps throughout British society, 53% of respondents said they wouldn’t pay for an app. Young people, however, are more likely to pay a small amount for an app (26% of 16-24-year-olds would pay between £2 to £5, and 29% of would be spend £5 to £10).

An unwillingness to pay for apps may be linked to the fact that 42% of Brits admit to not knowing how long it takes to develop an app. On average, respondents estimated it took 18 months to develop an app. Just 18% felt that an app could be built in under six months, and less than a quarter (23%) thought that an app could be built without coding knowledge.

But this can be done. The rise of no-code/low-code platforms has put paid to the idea that you need specialist knowledge and assistance to build and deploy an app. Some providers can deliver apps six times faster and 70% cheaper than using traditional development services, even providing customers with a free prototype in less than 10 minutes.

“This research shows how integrated apps are with every aspect of our lives. We use them to socialise, bank, shop, eat and do business,” explains Sachin Dev Duggal, Co-Founder and Chief Wizard of Builder.ai.

“This is just the beginning – the future of apps is limitless. But there’s this idea that apps are difficult to design and build – it’s only for a select few with coding skills. And this perception restricts creativity and prevents good app ideas from ever getting started. That’s why we started Builder.ai, an AI powered app development platform, where anyone with an idea can build an app in record time. We’re about making software development accessible to everyone.”

How Should Business Leaders Respond?

To be successful in the future, businesses will need to create apps to connect with their key target audience. But that alone won’t be enough.  

Instead, business leaders must ensure their app fulfills a mass desire, problem or daily function in people’s lives. If it doesn’t, it will be sidelined and forgotten about within the app landscape (apps have notoriously short lifespans – a mere 14 months before they need to be completely rewritten). 

But overall, this is great news for business. It provides a clear vision of how brands can closely interact with their target customers. So, investment in UX and low-code platforms now could help propel your business forwards. It can help to cement relations with the next generation of consumers, expand your market share, and open up new revenue streams for your business, all while reducing costs. The time to invest is now.