The number of apps that consumers are using has dropped, as they search out those that offer multiple services, new research has shown.

At the end of 2016, just 33 percent of respondents to a Gartner survey said they used six to 10 apps a month, a 6.2 percent decline from the previous year.

Social media apps remained the most popular – used by 83 percent of respondents – but they registered a two percent fall over the period.

Video and map apps, the next most popular, also declined in popularity.

However, the fourth and fifth most popular apps – messaging and shopping – both increased in popularity, being used by 71 percent and 60 percent of respondents respectively.

The likes of Facebook Messenger, WeChat and WhatsApp have become “incredibly sticky”, Gartner said, with 72 percent of users using the app at least once per day.

The survey also noted that 35 percent of respondents used virtual personal assistants, up four percent on last year.

The likes of Siri and Google Now “have the potential to replace some traditional apps,” Gartner warned.

The research house polled over 3,000 consumers in China, the UK and the US for its survey.

Gartner Research Director Jessica Ekholm, said: “We are witnessing the beginning of the post-app era based on the evidence that users are starting to use fewer apps actively on their smartphones.

“More importantly users want rich and engaging app experiences and are increasingly looking for apps that can offer a multitude of services without users having to leave the app itself.”

A separate App Annie report last month found that the total time spent in apps rose by 25 percent to reach nearly 900 billion hours in 2016, while app store revenues rose 40 percent to $35 billion.

Read more: Telefónica to create personal data bank for customers, expose “unfair” apps

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