Are You Like Most People, and Stop Using Most Apps Soon After Installing Them?

Android ios app retention rate

Flurry posted the results of a recent study of app usage, taking a look not only at how Android stacks up against iOS, but also at app retention rate – the percentage of users that continue to use an app in the 12 months after acquiring it. The results are somewhat stunning, showing that the retention rate in the first month after acquisition is only 38%. That number then drops steadily, reaching 4% after 12 months. Do you find yourself discarding apps at such a fast rate?

The drop off in month one could be explained by the fact that people try out apps, and might install many apps just out of curiosity. But the numbers continue to drop at a steady rate, suggesting that users are very selective about the apps that they continue to use.

Out of curiosity, I took a look at my phone. I tried to eyeball the number of apps that I’ve been using for more than a few months. It wasn’t an exact analysis, but I’d approximate that about 24 apps have been on my Galaxy S for 6 months or longer. If I hadn’t recently switched to a new custom ROM, which entailed a total wipe and reinstall of my phone, those numbers might be higher. There are 120 apps listed in my Android Market account, which seems to list all apps I’ve ever downloaded through the Market. I can only think of one or two occasions where I sideloaded an app outside the Market. I can’t perform the same analysis performed by Flurry, since I don’t know how many apps were on my phone 10 months ago, but my retention rate is probably higher than the rate in the Flurry study, since 5% of anything I’ve ever downloaded is still on my phone.

What does your gut tell you? Are you like most users, and stop using most apps shortly after installing them?

iOS & Android Apps Challenged by Traffic Acquisition Not Discovery [Flurry, via TUAW and the Steve Rubel Twitter stream]

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.


  1. I do the same thing Evan! It is just like keeping so many things with us while using very few of them. I had many applications loaded in my android phone. One day the phone started responding really slow and applications were stuck. After deleting some applications, I realized that the phone and other applications were working fine. It is always best to get rid of things that are not of any use.

  2. I don’t use mobile apps … but is this behavior much different than desktop downloads?

    There’s a lot of software that I’ve downloaded, use a few times, and then never used again.

    There’s also a fair amount of software that I use infrequently, but is nonetheless valuable to me. My usage of GIMP, for example, is very stop-and-go. I’ll go a month without using it, then use it a lot for a few days, then not use it again for a month.

    • I guess the big difference, at least with paid apps, is price. I bet many people buy iOS apps for $0.99, and then never use them, whereas a desktop app is more expensive (again, not counting the free stuff).

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