All an app really does is pre-download information to your smartphone to save time downloading content. This made apps very relevant in recent years because mobile internet speeds were still somewhat slow.
Nowadays, mobile internet speeds are becoming lightning fast and wifi connections are in abundant supply. Some cities even have free wifi available for everybody to use. This new and improved technology makes apps irrelevant on phones capable of 4g speeds and higher.
The alternative to mobile apps are responsive web-based apps that are optimized to work on any device. There user only has to go to one place instead of having to download a separate program for all of their devices on different operating systems. What is the difference? A responsive web-based app allows users to go to one place regardless of what device you are on. So if you have an Android smartphone you could use the exact same program, along with your saved data and preferences on an Apple iPad.
Responsive web-based apps, or responsive websites, can even use browser caching. Browser caching simply stores common data your computer, mobile phone or tablet on so next time you visit the web-app/responsive website, you don't have to download it again. This is the exact same concept as a mobile app, without having to download something seperately on different devices, assuming that an app is even available on seperate devices which most are not.
The results of this very old technology means that mobile apps have no advantage whatsoever over responsive websites that utilize browser caching. Even if a website does not use browser caching, you can easily set your browser to perform this task.
Some of them are using responsive web-based apps, but not very many. A recent internal study performed by Bohn Studios in May, 2014, showed that less than 10% of major companies have responsive website.
Making the transition away from mobile apps into a brighter future
If you have ever made a bookmark on regular desktop computer or laptop, then you already understand the concept of how the transition from mobile apps to responsive websites is happening. That's right, clever companies are simply making "apps" that are nothing but a bookmark to their responsive website.
First of all, people are just used to using apps. Users that have smart phones, are in the habit of tapping the "apps" link on their phone. They are also conditioned by current eccommerce infrastructure to look for apps (or simply programs) in major online stores such as itunes and Google Play Store.
If you want to reach mobile users and users on all devices, then you are better off just building a single, one-stop-shop outlet for your business: a responsive website. This is your best long-term investment that will last you the greatest number of years.
If you want to still go to the extra mile an accomodate the people who are accustomed using apps, then you should still have a responsive website. It can can do everything a traditional mobile app can. Just make a quick inexpensive app that is just a bookmark to your responsive website. That's all an app really is anymore and you can consolidate your information in one place.