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One in 10 Brit smartphone owners 'can't afford' to pay for apps

Beggared themselves buying iPhones, now can't find 69p

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Brits like smartphones, but half of them don't like paying for apps and two-fifths of those who've downloaded one say they'd never hand over cash for the privilege.

The numbers come from MyVoucherCodes, which asked 2,611 British app downloaders what they thought the apps were worth, with only 27 per cent saying they regularly paid for software (spending an average £5.20 a month) while the rest used the free stuff so abundant in all the app stores.

Of the four in 10 survey respondents who said they'd never pay for an app, a 29 per cent slice (totalling 10 per cent of all respondents) said it was because they couldn't afford them, while the remaining 71 per cent said it was because the software was "overpriced".

Americans, meanwhile, are using their mobiles for just about everything, according to the latest figures from Pew Internet (PDF, less interesting than one might imagine). A third are now banking on their mobile phones, and a similar number turn to the mobile internet when seeking medical advice, which is a scary thought.

The increased use of internet services on phones - which according to the survey has hit 44 per cent - shouldn't be surprising. Phones are much better at displaying websites than they used to be and websites are increasingly phone-friendly. Pew, which spoke to 2,582 Americans, also reckons the use of a phone to capture photographs and video is on the rise, now at 82 per cent.

Forty-three per cent of Americans have apparently downloaded apps onto their phones, but Pew didn't note what proportion of them had paid for the content, though it does tell us that rich people are more likely to download apps - 57 per cent of those with an income greater than $75,000, compared to 32 per cent of those earning less than $30,000 - but that's probably because rich people have better phones.

MyVoucherCodes didn't break down the phone models either, though previous studies and app store statistics have shown Android users to be more inclined towards freebies than iOS users. Some of that will be down to the historical lack of international payment gateways on Google Play (which promoted Angry Birds to go free) and Google's decision to let those without a credit card download free apps. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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