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Millions of apps for smartphones are available for download, yet over half of users have only 40-70 apps installed on their devices and 71% use only 6 apps or fewer per day. This means that consumers only download a small fraction of the apps available, and regularly use an even smaller portion of those apps.

Clearly a consumer’s app repertoire is very limited, and getting a coveted spot on their smartphone is tough (not to mention how hard it is to ensure that the app gets used!). How do consumers decide which apps make the cut? What factors do they consider?

Top reasons consumers delete mobile apps

We found in our new study, The New Mobile Mantra, that rarely using the app was the number 1 reason consumers deleted apps, followed by needing to free up space on their phones. This makes sense – consumers need to make room for apps that they will actually use.

But some consumers use more apps than others, so the threshold for “rarely using the app” differs by consumer. We found that consumers who use fewer apps per day are pickier about the apps that they download: 69% of consumers who use less than 4 apps per day agree with the statement “I only download apps I know I will use frequently,” as opposed to 47% who use more than 10 apps per day.

Number of apps used per day

Marketers need to be conscious of how their target consumers interact with mobile apps and web in their category in order to understand if their app makes sense. Apps that don’t provide value on a regular basis (whether that is daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) might not make sense for the consumer, and will likely be the first on the chopping block. But this doesn’t mean that industries where consumers only shop occasionally can’t develop useful and successful apps. Think beyond shopping to activities that require regular engagement with your customers – such as servicing or loyalty. Those may prove to be more valuable to the app experience.

Tasks that are done by consumers only occasionally tend to be best suited for the browser instead, so understanding the nuances of consumer behaviors on apps and browsers for particular activities is vital to driving engagement.

Learn more about the distinct roles of the mobile app and mobile web by downloading our report today. You can also watch the recording of our recent webinar.

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