Consumer Demand for Apps to Remain Strong, According to New CEA Study

Research on apps analyzes usage, spending, purchase drivers and more

ARLINGTON, Va.--()--A new study released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® finds consumer demand for apps likely to remain very strong as app-enabled devices continue positive growth in 2014. The study, The Intersection Between Apps and Hardware, analyzes consumer usage trends, satisfaction and interest in apps for various types of electronic devices.

App-enabled devices continue to gain traction in U.S. households with smartphones, tablets and smart TVs among the top growth products, according to CEA’s 16th Annual CE Ownership and Market Potential Study (2014), each category saw gains in ownership of at least six percentage points over 2013.

App Usage

Both the Apple and Android markets offered more than one million apps at the beginning of 2014. According to data from Flurry Analytics in the report, messaging and social media apps enjoyed the largest year-over-year growth in terms of usage with a 203 percent increase going into 2014. Productivity apps have also seen rapid growth (149 percent) as have music, media and entertainment apps (78 percent).

In general, app users are interested in apps with a high level of functionality (e.g., controlling other devices, 52 percent) and compatibility (e.g., working across various types of devices, 61 percent). While two-thirds of app users (67 percent) indicate they enjoy using apps, 59 percent believe the number of apps now available is overwhelming. Additionally, less than half (46 percent) of app users agree that apps remove the need to purchase separate electronic devices.

“There are several positive dynamics currently at play in the mobile device app market,” said Jessica Boothe, senior manager, strategic research at CEA. “While the advent of apps has negatively impacted some hardware markets, price and technical characteristics remain the primary purchase drivers of consumer choices among app-enabled devices, while the apps themselves still play an ancillary role.”

App-enabled Device Purchase Drivers

With regard to purchasing an app-enabled electronic device, technical (e.g., screen size, memory, operating system) and market (e.g., brand and price) characteristics matter most to consumers considering tablets, smartphones and smart TVs. The quality and variety of apps available for download are also important to consumers planning to purchase an app-enabled device.

App Spending

Consumers appear to be reluctant to pay for apps. Only one-third of app users surveyed (32 percent) indicate they are willing to pay for apps. Roughly half (48 percent) of app users did not spend any money on apps in the past 12 months and 52 percent spent some money, bringing the average amount spent on apps per-user to $39.40 in the past year.

Interest in App Capabilities

Consumer interest in additional app functionality includes apps that allow users to monitor or manage their home (55 percent among current app users), monitor the health of a vehicle (49 percent), manage personal health (48 percent), monitor aging family members or those that have been diagnosed health issues (43 percent), improve fitness or sports performance (41 percent) and make payments at physical retail stores (38 percent).

The Intersection Between Apps and Hardware (May 2014) study was conducted in December 2013. It represents the findings of a quantitative study administered via Internet web form to an online national sample of 1,001 U.S. people over the age of 18. The study was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The complete report is available for free for CEA member companies at Non-members may purchase the report at the CEA Store.

About CEA:

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $208 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at, and through social media.


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Consumer Electronics Association
Danielle Cassagnol, 703-907-5253
Tyler Suiters, 703-907-7654

Release Summary

A new study released today by CEA finds consumer demand for apps likely to remain very strong as app-enabled devices continue positive growth in 2014.


Consumer Electronics Association
Danielle Cassagnol, 703-907-5253
Tyler Suiters, 703-907-7654