98% of the Excel usage I've seen in in appropriate.
But for 98% of THAT, the "appropriate" tool would have been a database.
Which usually requires a dedicated database server (we DO want to do it right after all this time), a DBMS including team for operating and maintanance, complete knowledge of the database design beforehand (in research?) and admin resources to set up the database.
So we blew out thousands of $ and haven't stored a single line of data yet. But at least we did it right.
And we still don't have a useable frontend for data entry and reporting, and can't send out the data to a reviewer in a different organisation in a file they can open as they would an Excel file
All in all, doing things the the "appropriate" way is wishful thinking. So people are going for 2nd best alternative to a proper database, but Access is not installed for various reasons. And that's why they end up with Excel. sad, but nothing you can blame the user for.