Professionals who use Macs when working at small and medium businesses have intriguing software preferences, according to insights from a new Setapp Mac Application Survey. The research results from Setapp – MacPaw’s application subscription provider based in Kiev, Ukraine – could impact the way you use and buy Mac apps. Let’s take a look at how three changes have changed the way Mac users approach their software needs.
Software purchasing behavior has changed
I used to think choosing and buying software was pretty easy. When buying applications, my process used to be simple: determine the best option for my needs, often the market-leading program or closest competitor, and purchase the corresponding license.
If the original equipment manufacturer’s versions were available, they were generally less expensive than retail or direct purchase, but OEM licenses can usually only be used for the machine they were purchased with.
Since I, like many users, usually keep new computers in production for four years, that wasn’t a problem. After a few years, updated versions of the programs became available. I would then update my edition by purchasing a new OEM license when I bought a new Mac.
Then three things happened: First, Apple rolled out its App Store, which simplified buying, tracking, and even updating software applications; second, Apple doubled down on its commitment to making it easy to learn and developing and maintaining impressively capable software solutions — such as Mail, Messages, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — for free on Macs; and third, software subscriptions were introduced, and are becoming the norm in many cases.
The Setapp Mac apps survey says…
Where do Mac users collect information about macOS software options?
About 52% of respondents said Apple’s App Store is where they learn about Mac apps. Social media was the next most popular source at 43%, although respondents said they placed less trust in social media.
Instead, more than 85% of respondents trust the App Store, YouTube, podcasts, newsletters, recommendations from colleagues, friends, or other professionals. I also tend to distrust social media and prefer peer recommendations and customer feedback.
How many programs do Mac users install on their Apple computers?
According to the study, the total number of apps installed on respondents’ Macs has increased from 31 in 2021 to 37 this year. However, the number of apps used daily has changed only slightly: 13 compared to 12 last year.
TO SEE: The Complete Limited Edition Mac Bundle (TechRepublic Academy)
The fewer Mac apps you have installed, the better you can secure a machine and reduce the time it takes to download and install updates. The number of Mac programs you need ultimately depends on the professional responsibilities you fulfill and the type of work you perform on a regular basis. Whenever possible, using a single app for multiple purposes helps minimize the number of apps needed.
The study also found that 10 of the 13 apps used by Mac users every day are installed on Macs by default. That finding is intriguing. Consider: Over 75% of the apps Mac users use every day are pre-installed. The result should certainly be that dependence on external software suppliers decreases.
What are the most used Mac apps?
Of the native Apple applications included with macOS, the Safari web browser (68%) and the Messages app (65%) are the most commonly used applications. That’s a surprise to me — I bet Mail is used more often than Messages, but maybe I’m dating myself.
Photos (59%) and Mail (57%) are the next two most used apps. Next are Calendar (47%), FaceTime (45%), and Notes (44%) as the most popular native tools (Image A).
When it comes to everyday office productivity software, Microsoft seems to have a stranglehold on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Those Microsoft Office programs, along with the Google Chrome browser and Adobe apps, are then the most installed Mac programs according to Setapp’s research, as shown by the word cloud chart in Figure B.
What are the top considerations for Mac users when selecting a new app?
Based on the survey, the answer is features (47%) and security (45%). The price of a Mac application (38%) and the associated user experience and interface (37%) are the next most important factors, closely followed by privacy and personal data management practices (35%). The reputation of an application designer (17%) was close to last, only higher than Other (1%).
Many respondents consider automatic updates (46%) and the desire not to overload their Mac with unnecessary applications (43%) to be important purchase considerations. About 55% of respondents strongly believe that high-quality Mac apps cost money and are willing to pay a corresponding price (Figure C).
About 42% of respondents say they prefer cross-platform apps. When purchasing a program, respondents prefer to receive all versions, including web and iOS editions. This doesn’t surprise me: I find it simplifies license and software management, especially within SMBs, where multiple seats and licenses are usually involved.
When buying new Mac apps, the average cost a Mac user spends per year is $139. Respondents also have an average of nine paid apps on their Mac computers. Setapp notes that not all respondents differentiated between the apps they buy and the amount they spend on in-app purchases.
While I don’t expect users to have to buy the same apps year after year, the $139 total is less than I expected. Programs I’ve come to depend on, such as iA Writer ($49.99 for Mac and another $49.99 for iOS and iPadOS) and Pixelmator Pro ($39.99) add up quickly.
Still, with an average purchase price of $139 for Mac apps, the typical business professional using a Mac should find such a budget to buy some reliable apps, which may not require paying to re-install for years. update – although I fear that trend has changed.
What are Mac users’ preferences for lifetime app licenses versus subscriptions?
While it’s only fair that developers continue to get paid, I’m learning that the days of buying an application once from the App Store and you’re done are probably over. I’m already used to just having to pay Microsoft an annual fee for access to its productivity suite, and when professional needs demand it, I do the same with Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite. However, that doesn’t mean other Mac users appreciate purchasing software subscriptions.
About 36% of respondents said they prefer one-time lifetime licenses. Only 17% prefer annual subscriptions, with even fewer preferring monthly subscriptions (13%).
TO SEE: Setapp’s Mac software service confirms that app subscriptions are permanent (TechRepublic)
While I no longer put off paying for a Mac app I use, that’s not true everywhere. Setapp’s Mac App Survey confirms that Mac users refuse to buy an application if the app is expensive, if free alternatives are available, or if they’re not sure they’ll need to use the program on a regular basis.
Sometimes free apps will suffice, but experience has taught me that developers often put premium features, such as the ability to print or edit a file, behind a paywall. Once I know that I need a software app and it becomes necessary to perform day-to-day functions, I’ve learned that paying the licensing fee speeds up my workflows and proves to be more effective than continuing to try to save money by using creating a free but limited app or repeatedly looking for trial versions.
How important is M1/M2 chip support when purchasing Mac apps?
The fact that Macs are increasingly powered by Apple Silicon also affects app selection. Most respondents say it’s very important (55%) or somewhat important (35%) that the Mac apps they buy have native M1 and M2 chip support.
Setapp’s survey methodology for Mac apps
The Setapp survey was conducted online. More than 600 US Mac users aged 18 or older responded. About 45% of respondents said they use a MacBook Pro, with MacBook Airs (34%), Mac Pros (23%), iMacs (20%), Mac minis (6%), and Mac Studios (6%) making up the remainder .