M-apps must make privacy a priority


Four out of ten mobile users admit they would not download an app just because of privacy concerns

A new poll from UK mobile app developer, Apadmi shows that the public attitude is hardening against apps that place excessive demands on users. The survey of 100 mobile users – including owners of Android, iOS, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices – was commissioned to examine how opinions are changing towards downloading apps in the wake of issues such as the Edward Snowden revelations.

When asked which statements they agreed with, 37% of respondents said they would not download an app if it meant letting it post on social media on their behalf, operating their phone without them knowing, collecting their personal data or invading their privacy. By contrast, just 12% said they would not be put off downloading an app for these reasons.

Meanwhile, 32% felt apps were getting more invasive by, for example, posting updates on sites like Facebook and Twitter, interacting with phones independently, compiling data on users or taking liberties with personal privacy. A mere 6 per felt apps were getting less invasive.

In addition, the survey sheds light on how mobile users are now discovering apps. When asked 'how do you mostly find new apps to download?', the most popular answer was searching an app store for a particular type of app (40%), followed by hearing about apps from friends, colleagues and/or family (19%), and lists of top apps and/or app charts (15%). The less popular responses were reviews and/or news articles about apps (13%), hearing about apps from other users on social media (9%), and adverts on TV or online (4%).

Lastly, it would appear that users are increasingly turning to apps to complete practical tasks rather than for entertainment. Approximately 42% of respondents agreed with the statement that 'I mostly download apps that help me complete a task in my personal or professional life, for example, banking apps, currency converters or reading apps'. By way of comparison, 37% agreed with the statement that 'I mostly download games and novelty apps, for example, puzzles, games and voice changers'.

Howard Simms, co-founder and director at Apadmi, said: 'This research shows that marketing mobile apps is becoming harder than ever. Mobile users are getting more and more concerned about how their data is being used. The fact that four out of ten mobile users say they would not download an app solely because of privacy concerns should serve as a wake-up call to organisations building their own apps, app developers and mobile marketers.

'It's interesting that today's mobile users are relying on app store listings and word-of-mouth recommendations when choosing apps rather than reviews, news articles and adverts. This suggests users are looking for apps that their friends are using rather than apps that are critically acclaimed,' continued Simms. 'Also, apps are no longer being used mainly for novelty purposes. Modern mobile users are more likely to check their bank balance and read a work document on the move than they are to pass the time playing games.'


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