Localytics recently examined how people use their apps. The study, based on data from 1.5 billion devices and 25,000 apps, reports that 20% of downloaded apps are used only once, which is a 6% improvement over a four-year-old identical study. During the same period, which covers apps used during the third quarter of multiple years, the percentage of apps used 11 or more times increased 13% and now comprises nearly 40% of all apps.
Which apps are the most engaging? Weather and social apps. Meanwhile, sports and game apps have the highest abandonment rate. That's probably because of the competition in the sports and games category, while most of us settle in pretty quickly on our favorite weather or messaging/social apps. For games in particular, those apps have a nearly 50% chance of never being opened again if a user doesn't return to the app within 12 hours.
The report also notes that Android users are slightly ahead of iOS users in engagement, which may be a result of the greater number of apps available to iOS users. With the relatively larger number of apps installed on iOS devices, competition for an iOs user's time increases and can weaken retention.
For an app developer, the best of all possible worlds is for people to use your app over and over. It makes for a very competitive environment which is good for the industry and good for end users.
Does this study seem to track with your own experiences? In my case it seems to. I'm a heavy consumer of weather and messaging on my iPhone. I'm always willing to try a new game, but if it doesn't grab me I never go back. Meanwhile, I've had a large turn-over in sports apps, never finding the right app that truly fills my needs. Your comments are welcome.