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August 17, 2015

Apps miss the mark on consumer expectations

Consumers are regularly ditching applications from their devices.

By Alexander Sword

Apps are failing to maintain the loyalty of UK mobile users, with a large number being regularly culled from devices.

According to research by 34SP.com, 20 percent of mobile users delete applications within three months of downloading them.

In addition, two out of five often delete mobile applications, while 39 percent claimed to often delete apps because they had been "useless."

These low figures are backed up by Localytics research, which found that at the end of Q1 2015 only 17 percent of apps’ users returned to the app within three months of the first session.

Media and entertainment apps had the highest retention rates as a category, at 31 percent, while eCommerce and retail had the lowest at 17 percent.

Daniel Foster, technical director and co-founder of 34SP.com, said that the findings should be concerning for enterprises: "Increasingly businesses are investing a lot of resource into creating innovative apps for their customers, in the hope to attract them in an extremely saturated market.

"So it’s disappointing to find that for a lot of consumers it isn’t long before they actually delete an app from their device.

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"There could be a number of reasons why a consumer might delete an app. It’s not uncommon for users to hit storage capacity on their phones, for example, and apps are often the first thing to go before music, videos, or photos.

"The latest mobile update from Google may have had an impact; too, as businesses have been pushed to create mobile websites that are more mobile-friendly. This means consumers no longer need to download an app that takes up precious storage to get a decent experience on mobile."

Rob Bamforth, Principal Analyst at Quocirca, argues that storage constraints are an important factor in app deletion.

"[One reason to delete apps] is that you download so many that you run out of space. Most of us do that on a reactive basis rather than religiously at a regular time. We get pressured to tidy things up every so often.

"It’s very easy come, easy go. It’s easy both to download and get rid of an app, as there is no complex install, update or removal process."
He comments that the onus is on app-makers to cater to the mobile experience.

"They have to make the whole experience positive from a user perspective, rather than something that takes them from how they naturally do things. You have to be really cognisant of the limitations of the device; it’s got to work really simply and easily."

Bamforth says that companies need to reassess how they look at applications:

"A lot of organisations think their competition is a company directly working alongside them. Actually, when competing for space on a tablet or smartphone you are competing with everyone."

Foster added: "Offering regular perks to those that download an app might be the only way to keep a consumer that isn’t necessarily loyal to a brand engaged, to prevent them from deleting the app."

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