IDC has identified six distinct consumer market segments: Tech Evangelists, Impulse Buyers, Experimental Adopters, Pragmatic Purchasers, Green Buyers, and Disengaged Functionalists.
One market segment in particular -- Tech Evangelists -- was found to be particularly influential when it comes to mobile apps.
"Tech evangelists not only own the most devices and utilize the most advanced functions, features, and apps, they are also the group that drives adoption of device ownership and usage by other market segments," said Michael DeHart, director at IDC.
Tech Evangelists are not only deeply involved in app usage, but also the most educated consumers about apps and technology in general, leading others to seek out their advice. Their spending on technology and apps is expected to increase at least 10 percent in 2012 compared to 2011, even in a down economy.
"In terms of formulating a strategy for the prioritization of app development and marketing, focusing on Tech Evangelists’ download and usage of apps will deliver the largest ROI by far in terms of segment-based app development and marketing," added DeHart.
IDC research revealed other key mobile app insights:
- Free apps comprise 85 percent of the total app market.
- The most popular free apps are gaming, music, social networking, weather, news, entertainment and navigation.
- In the paid apps market, the most popular categories are music, games, navigation, entertainment, and books -- a category that does not perform well in the free app space.
- App usage varies by country as well as by market segment. Generally speaking, categories of apps preferred are relatively stable across market segments, but the rates of download and usage vary dramatically.
- South Korean consumers are most likely of all smartphone users worldwide to download both free and paid apps. Swedish and American consumers are also highly app-engaged smartphone users.
Level of App Download and Usage Across Countries