Apple and Google Android are the two most dominant operating systems in the world and they have a market share of around 75 per cent, but it seems users of iPhones are more loyal.
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.
By studying data compiled from analytics of apps installed on over 300 million devices across all major mobile platforms, the company determined that as of last March, around 26 percent of downloaded apps were only ever used once. As the market has shifted to the "freemium" model and relies on in-app purchases to keep apps lucrative, getting customers to like the apps and use them routinely is key to selling them future apps, upgrades or help in spreading the word about apps or the company's brand.
The app retention rate has increased 19% over the last year meaning that users are more apt to keep using an app and this loyalty could theoretically result in a higher payday for a developer. According to stats compiled by a firm called Localytics, users of the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad are 52% more likely than Android users to keep an app than remove it. This stat is based on a survey that shows that 35% of iOS users are likely to use an app 11 or more times while the number of Android users doing the same is just 23%. Overall, the number of those who used an app just once before trashing it has dropped by 15%. This means that either Smartphone users are installing only apps they really need or those developers are making apps more interesting. The one-time usage rate on Android, 24%, is higher than the 21% for the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad.
iPhone’s far greater app retention rates is also an echo of the 94% retention rate of iPhone itself compared to 47% for Android (Piper Jaffray). When users upgrade from iPhone 3GS to iPhone 4S, they might download the same apps (or transfer them) to their new device. In most cases, that iPhone 4S will look “new” to the app publisher even though the user might have months of prior exposure to the app on the older iPhone 3GS. To correctly identifying returning users across devices, publishers need to record registration data as part of their app analytics.
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