The long-term future of the smartphone apps market is under the spotlight, as new research indicates that the average number of apps downloaded per user per month has declined considerably over the past year.
Nearly a third of smartphone users in the UK do not download any apps in a typical month - an increase from less than one in five in 2013, according to analysis by consultancy Deloitte.
As reported by The Telegraph, even for users likely to download smartphone apps, the number downloaded per month has decreased from 2.32 to 1.82.
However, while this may suggest that the app market itself is shrinking, Deloitte claim that this is not the case.
Instead, the decline is the result of more smartphone users over the age of 50, who are less interested in downloaded additional software.
Paul Lee, head of research for technology, media and telecommunications at Deloitte, said, "The new adopters of smartphones use them mostly for text messaging. When you look at who uses IM (instant messaging) services like WhatsApp and WeChat, it tends to be younger age groups and it declines very steeply with age."
The report also found that, amongst younger users, smartphone owners will normally have a preferred set of apps finalised after a few months of use.
The company's findings will do little to appease concerns that the majority of profitable apps are monopolised by a small handful of software companies. Facebook, for example, acquired Instagram for $1bn (£600m) in 2012 and WhatsApp for $19bn (£11bn) earlier this year.
Phil Barnett of secure mobility specialist Good Technology claims that developers will have to become "more innovative" to reverse the trend.
"The 'if in doubt download it' attitude to consumer apps is clearly on the decline," he warned.