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The evidence is clear: Android users are dumping apps shortly after installing them. Recently, we saw that 77 percent of Android users stop using an app 72 hours after installing it. This and other figures indicate that Android users not only don't stick with apps but that they're also unwilling to pay for them. With well over a million apps available, why do we use so few?

So many apps, so little time. / © ANDROIDPIT

Why so little money?

The question of why Android users pay, on average, less for apps than iOS users is relatively easy to answer. An iPhone is a very expensive device, meaning Apple owners are more likely to have more disposable income. Android users with lower-end devices may have less money to throw around or might not have a credit card, which they need to conduct transactions through the Google Play Store.

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Most Android users are not like this. / © ANDROIDPIT

Why so little time?

The Google Play Store currently has over 1.5 million apps. This is an enormous number. The market is undeniably over-saturated.

Most people make apps either for fun or for money. If apps are being made for fun, they're unlikely to be great; let's be honest. There are anomalies out there, of course, but an insanely small percentage are going to be worth users investing serious time in.

If they're being made for money, developers are going to be considerably more invested in finding ways to get users hooked. This is done through making users engage with the app immediately and then providing incentives to keep them coming back. These incentives have to be effective, not annoying. So fifty push notifications saying you haven't used the app in a while are unlikely to be a boon to user retention. In fact, I think most users would agree that cloying notifications and emails only really serve as a reminder that they need to uninstall said app.

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The Google Play Store now offers well over a million apps. / © ANDROIDPIT

Another consideration is that, while many users may only use an app a few times in 90 days, it may be that an app is only useful on rare occasions – maybe a currency conversion app or an archive unpacker for ZIP and RAR files.

Mostly, however, it comes down to the simple fact that many apps are not that useful. Most smartphone users spend the majority of their time in a small handful of apps, the ones that they rely on as part of their daily lives, mostly social media apps, like Facebook, and practical tools, like Google Maps.

Apps that people download are usually superfluous, something fun to play around with during a dull patch in the day, and not something they were ever likely to consider using regularly to begin with.

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Uninstalling apps is a great pastime activity. / © ANDROIDPIT

What can be done?

Very little, it seems. Occasionally, an app will come along that outplays even the most popular existing app, but for an app developer to attract and hold users, they need to have created something really special, or at least addictive, but even this addictive quality usually has a limited lifespan. The only apps that people come back to for months or even years are those that allow them access to huge pools of entertainment (YouTube), communication with family and friends (Facebook, WhatsApp) and practical uses (Google Maps, a web browser). 

Many users are also unlikely to venture far beyond the Play Store's top-ten lists, making app discovery very difficult. So, although there may be fun, useful or even potentially essential apps out there for a certain user, their chances of finding it are slim. But the study providing the 77 percent figure, also offers a ray of hope. Even though 77 percent of users abandon the app after 72 hours, at least they gave it a go. So if app developers can effectively draw people in, perhaps they'll be more willing to stick around.

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Don't hide your favorite apps from friends. / © ANDROIDPIT

Maybe we, the users, can do something to help the situation, though. We shouldn't be afraid to recommend our favorite apps to friends and family, and try to raise the profile of apps that people might not otherwise discover.

Do you think developers can do more to attract and keep user interest? Are apps mostly just not that useful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Readers' favorite comments

  • Mark 7 months ago

    I don't think people hate app's in general. It is just so hard to find good truly useful apps. Outside of weather, maps, and a few games I don't use many and wish I could delete most of what on the phone. It would be great if phones came app free so you could install what you want. If a phone has Facebook pre loaded and I can not delete it I will not buy it. I hate Facebook!!!

  • Mark 7 months ago

    Rooting is not illegal it just will void the warranty on your phone


Write new comment:
  • Well, preloaded apps do get used more compared to how much they would have been if they were not preloaded.

  • I really think if we had the options to delete all of the bloatware permanently off our phones I think there would be a lot more happy customers with their device I don't care if it's the high end or if it's the low-end devices I think people would be a lot more satisfied with their phones because I just think personally they had too much stuff that comes with the phone and people never never ever use most of the apps that come with the phone and I think we should have the option even though our phone is not rooted we should still have the option to delete most of that bloatware or even all of it this is 2016 we should least have that option

  • After all the bells and whistles are evaluated, we've come to realize something important.

    When it all comes down to it, all we really need is a phone.

    • Mark 7 months ago Link to comment

      That is it in a nut shell. It is nice having a pocket computer that can make a call with. Which is what the new smartphones really are. I kind of miss the old bag phone. You cold be many miles from a tower and still get good reception. Then could talk for a month before it needed charging

  • rick 7 months ago Link to comment

    i have lots of apps. but i keep only what i use, and if the apps are good quality. otherwise they get deleted. i downloaded about 300 apps, 75 stayed the test of time. every now and then, i go back and download an app i got rid of, just because it had potential. and just wanted to know if it got any better. ya, i can say i like to use a lot of makes my device an alternate universe. i had 3 launchers at one time, plus the stock launcher. but, now i have only one launcher, Buzz launcher, i havent used the TouchWiz launcher in 6-7 months now. i wish i had the s5 with 32 gigs on it.

  • I make good money and I prefer Android. Apple simply doesn't make an inexpensive phone so you can't really say Android is for poor people. Very poor choice of words.

  • Titanium Backup all the way!

  • drkmgiri 7 months ago Link to comment

    sometimes app uses too much users tend to uninstall it. or app might be showing too much adds.many a times particular app causes more slowing of the device forcing user to uninstall it.user tend to fade up with gaming apps which results in removals.

  • Mark G. 7 months ago Link to comment

    One of the main reason for uninstalling apps soon after downloading is due to low cost devices having low internal memory.
    Most users will have to juggle apps and will use them on a one off basis, re-downloading them as and when needed, Whilst keeping the most used apps.

    Peace ✌

  • Fair enough!

  • 18
    anshul 7 months ago Link to comment

    Google play should have filter which only allows genuine and good apps. Companies should stop filling their devices with pre installed apps or bloatware because there are so many apps which are not useful they only unnecessary occupy space & pressurize RAM. There should be an option to delete or uninstall bloatwares in simple manner. Rooting is an option but it is not for everyone.

    • That's a good idea!!!

    • So you mean Apple.

      • 18
        anshul 6 months ago Link to comment

        Not exactly like Apple but Android should also become safe & secure in their own way. Android is an open market platform & many developers take advantage of this by developing malicious apps. So these kind of developers should be prohibited to list their apps on Google Play.

        First Google should review or deploy some mechanism for the new developers & their apps before listing them.

  • Flávio 7 months ago Link to comment

    I think the reasons are that playstore needs a better search mechanism, also to clean it from bad apps. And above all they need to rework the adds system on apps to be more controlled, some apps are almost unusable because of this
    *Random google adds link appears*
    *loud video starts playing when you are using reading app*
    tries to close
    *directed to playstore to download random battery saver +antivirus+ phone boost *

  • Paolo 7 months ago Link to comment

    JUST GIVE US QUALITY APPS ALREADY! iOS always gets it, why can't we?

  • Mark 7 months ago Link to comment

    I don't think people hate app's in general. It is just so hard to find good truly useful apps. Outside of weather, maps, and a few games I don't use many and wish I could delete most of what on the phone. It would be great if phones came app free so you could install what you want. If a phone has Facebook pre loaded and I can not delete it I will not buy it. I hate Facebook!!!

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