Once a hot investment, apps falling victim to Economics 101

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Are apps a thing of the past?

There are millions of apps available to smartphone users worldwide. In fact, there are so many apps, and they’re created so quickly, that an accurate in-the-moment count – even in our digitalized, metric-obsessed world – is virtually impossible.

During the last five years – in particular, the era of “there’s an app for that” – the range of apps exploded. They are saturating the tech marketplace with apps on health, finance, weather, fitness, entertainment, eating, traveling and much more.

The more recent generation of apps provide 24/7 monitoring of any number of health indicators, from heart rate to blood pressure, and from blood sugar to even kidney or liver function.

Enough.

The Trends Research Institute monitors trends in the inner sanctum of the tech world, where software developers dream up and create “an app for anything.” It’s clear: App fatigue is setting in.

It’s Economics 101. The supply outweighs demand. There are simply too many apps in the marketplace. Distinguishing one market niche from another has become nearly impossible.

But since apps control our lives by directing or at least influencing our daily routines – from what to eat or what movie to watch, to constant calendar, traffic or weather reminders – their addictive qualities eventually reach a breaking point.

We are at that point. We’re over-notified, over-directed and consumed with “do this, do that” data pulses. Apps have robbed us of spontaneity and surprise.

“App fatigue is definitely an issue,” said Angela Mattia, associate professor of decision sciences and information management at Jacksonville University. “…Times are changing again because there are so many out there, and people are so overloaded with them that the ‘a-ha’ moment and ‘this is great; let me run out and get it’ is not happening anymore.”

TRENDPOST: While the market for must-have apps continues strong, app fatigue is everywhere. It will be more difficult for startups to find the funding to develop new apps, existing companies to invest in a saturated market and techies motivated enough to create the next breakthrough app.

Perhaps, given the fatigue and anxiety levels created by our over-populated app universe, the world needs a “neurosis app” to cope with the withdrawal and healing process ahead.