Smartphone App Fatigue

velocity Mobile Technology, Research

Smartphone users are suffering from app fatigue. It seems like every week there is a new app I’m downloading: Uber, GetMyBoat, Afterlight, Enlight, PDF Pro, etc. The bad news for app makers is that I probably won’t keep the apps very long. It’s not just personal experience saying this, it’s data.

A new survey conducted by Research Now reports that 49% of US smartphone users use 6-10 smartphone apps a week. A Pew Research Center report adds a little more depth and says 30% of US smartphone app downloaders had 1-10 apps downloaded on their phone as of February; another 32% had 11-20. This report revealed different  usage numbers with 46% of respondents using 1-5 apps per week and only 35% using 6-10.

When looking at long-term usage the results get worse. According to AppsFlyer, most apps are not even kept a full day. Data from July 2015 showed 29.1% of apps download by Android users were retained for at least a day but it was only 25.5% for iOS users. At the end of 30 days 3.3% of Android and 3.2% of iOS users still had active users.

You should keep this data in mind when you are creating an app. The reality is that unless your app provides some sort of utility people won’t use it. For some brands this might be easy, like Kraft creating a recipe app. For others you will need to be creative, like Charmin who developed the ‘Sit or Squat’ app to help people find public restrooms. These apps provide a utility (i.e. solve a customer problem) that extends beyond the brand and may only be tangentially related to what you sell.