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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]