Great news for the mobile app market, app retention rates are improving as publishers shift from a focus on downloads to customer acquisition and retention models. App retention rates improved 19% over the last year, with retention rates on the iPhone and iPad 52% higher than on Android devices.
In the early days of the App Store and Android Market (Google Play) publishers focused on developing an initial presence and, with the limited data available, could only measure success by the total number of downloads. However, many of those downloads were poorly acquired and never turned into long-term customers.
In March 2011, Localytics published research showing that 26% of downloaded apps were only used one time. However, another 26% of customers used new apps more than 10 times.
Localytics: “Among customers who first downloaded a phone or tablet app in 3Q 2011, compared to 3Q 2010, both one-time usage and long-term retention numbers improved. One-time usage of apps dropped over 15%, from 26% to 22%. More importantly, those who used an app more than 10 times in the following months improved 19%, growing from 26% to 31%.”
The average number of apps on a smartphone increased from 32 to 41 apps, and the apps share of internet usage increased from 73% to 81% in the last year. (Nielsen)
iPhone and iPad users are 52% more loyal to their apps than Android users. 35% of iOS users launched an app more than 10 times after downloading, compared to only 23% of Android users. On average, Android apps suffer from a 24% one-time usage rate compared to just a 21% one-time usage rate for iPhone and iPad.
Both platforms show improvement, and that suggests that many app publishers are simply building better apps. The users certainly gained experience over the last year too, and are likely making more discerning choices about what apps to load onto their devices.