Per-Capita App Download Rates Show Where Mobile Growth Is Heading

In order to get a better handle on app economy trends in key markets, we took total smartphone app downloads for the month and divided this number by the country’s total population. 

The per-capita figure can give us a rough idea of the mobile markets where app economies are at full-throttle, and those where there is plenty of room for future download growth. 

The U.S. and the U.K. had the highest per-capita smartphone app download averages at 4.3 and 4.65, respectively. 

With the U.K. and U.S. both having reached well over 50% smartphone penetration, they are entering the late stage of the smartphone adoption cycle and both markets will eventually see app download growth rates slow (even as downloads continue to increase in volume terms). 

It isn’t unrealistic to imagine that app downloads per-capita in the U.K. and U.S. could top out sometime in the not-too-distant future, perhaps before reaching 10 apps per-capita. 

China, meanwhile, had the second-largest app downloads by volume in the month, but the lowest per-capita monthly downloads, at .37 apps per person. That’s a clear indication of the tremendous growth potential for smartphone apps in China, as the smartphone economy takes off. Two other BRICs, Brazil and Russia, also showed very low downloads per-capita. 

Germany and France, the two largest economies in continental Europe, have robust total app download numbers, but their per-capita averages are less than half of those in U.K. In other words, even in EU markets there is room for app economy growth. 

Japan, a leader in a region often lauded for its mobile connectivity, also lags in per-capita download terms.

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