77 percent of users never use an app again 72 hours after installing

by: John DyeMarch 4, 2016

Facebook app uninstall

Nobody’s really arguing anymore over whether the future will be mobile. Apps have become one of the primary ways we engage ideas, each other, and the world around us. This trend is only expected to increase in the future, so right now app development is as hot as the surface of the sun and getting hotter every day. However, to say competition is fierce in the app world is a massive understatement.

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In an article published on his website, Silicon Valley analyst Andrew Chen attests that the average app loses 77 percent of its users in the three days after they install it. After a month, 90 percent of users eventually stop using the app, and by the 90-day mark, only 5 percent of users continue using a given app. These crushing figures mean that app creators are having to make sure that their users stay connected (but not annoyed by) their apps from minute one to three months down the line.


Chen draws his data from over 125M mobile phones, and the apps he studied were all available from the Google Play Store and had over 10,000 downloads. He excluded Google’s apps for the purpose of this study. One of the conclusions he draws from this data is that apps that fair well on this curve are those that encourage ongoing activation from the user, but which don’t send “We miss you” emails to try to get back into their lost users’ lives. Basically, the same strategies that fail with your ex-girlfriend also fail with your app. The most successful apps are those which people use on such a regular basis that these users can’t imagine getting on without them.

What are your thoughts regarding this colossal app drop rate? How many times have you downloaded an app just to play around with it for a minute, before forgetting about it almost immediately? Let us know your opinions, and also which apps you can’t imagine living without in the comments below.

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  • hola oo

    That because many of us were just trying to try the apps, and if it’s don’t really useful, we don’t use it anymore.

    • Leandro Brandão

      Most of the apps i try are not that useful as advertised, i use the same set of apps for a long time, to include a new one it should be really useful or fun in case of a game.

  • Seenzoned

    true to this, Im guilty…

  • moew

    I downloaded an app…. Hshahahaha lol

  • Marty

    Of the 100s of thousands of apps in the Play Store, I use about 80.

  • ChrisLaarman

    I wouldn’t call it a “drop rate”.

    1) I buy apps when they come to my attention, by reading about them, by reading about a competing app, or by feeling that it might come in handy. But the occasions on which to use a given (I mean purchased) app may occur much later or never. (Think of a First Aid app.) Call it some form of “better safe than sorry”. Something similar applies to e-books.
    The large majority of my app and book purchases concerns productivity rather than entertainment.

    2) I am on both Android and iOS (and more). I can’t use an app when I’m using the other operating system (and perhaps a similar app).

    3) Under iOS, my behavior may be even more extreme. I am subscribed to some notifications of apps that have gone free for a moment. I tend to “buy” anything that might be useful. Right now I’m trailing over three months of apps to be kept on the device or uninstalled. A quick count amounts to some 500 (on a 128 GB device), for Android some 60. Which may show the impact of these notifications.
    Besides, the App Store allows vendors to offer bundles, haven’t met those at the Play Store. So I may have bought some apps just as part of a bundle.

    4) But yes, all this still amounts to a “drop rate”. But there’s more to it than the mere statistics.

  • Amin Sai

    it’s a trend from android user, they allready try to download app just for tryin not for using.

  • abqnm

    The one sure-fire way to get me to stop using an app for good is an app issuing notifications reminding me that it’s still there and to use it. You do that and I uninstall it.

    Peel has become the latest casualty in this stupid scheme. Rhapsody is another because they have an option to disable push notifications but it kept turning them back on. And both developers ignored my support requests. So both are gone now, with Peel reported to Google because the notifications violate the developer policy by not even being related to a core function of the app.

    I don’t mind emails as much as I can just junk them later and Inbox is pretty good about keeping that stuff out of my way. But you issue one Android notification and you’re barred for good.

  • There’s nothing wrong with downloading apps just to try them, i’m sure you reviewers do it all the time and then never use them again.

  • I am not surprised to hear that most downloaded apps suffer from neglect from the user but I am a little bit surprised that within 72 hours as much as 77% of these apps are already pretty much forgotten.

    I will download new apps all the time to see if they interest me or fit a need I have been looking to fill. Generally within 15 minutes of installing an app I will know if it is something I want to delve into further or is not for me. Those apps that are not for me get uninstalled immediately because I don’t like app clutter. If I want to give it a more in depth look, I will usually know within a week (2 at the most) if I want to keep it around.

    I think most people probably do something similar because it is just human nature to always be looking for the next big thing that is going to be better than the last big thing. Discovering new apps is one of the joys of having a smartphone. Be it Android or IOS, the app stores are always a fun place to pass a little time.

  • JimAlaska

    I have a lot of apps I’ve always intended to use, usually because they look like they could be useful, then never get around to doing anything with them.

    I have several apps still installed I think COULD be useful…sometime. ;-)

    • me_

      Been there, done that too. ;)

  • wcjeep

    Every few months I go through and delete anything not used. With exception of a First Aid app. It’s all locally stored info that can be useful with no network connection.

  • Same thing happened to me with AA app *Kappa*

  • That’s because the apps task has been fulfilled.

    Example: A .rar extractor. You’ll use it for whatever file you need and then it just sits in your app drawer until next time.

  • saksham

    what about games ?

  • SamsaraGuru

    I find that the app I use most often and would most miss because of how convenient it makes things is a very simple, very basic one called Simplenote. The name connotes its function, but it solves an everyday problem for me. The ability to write simple or long documents and have them available instantly across multiple devices. It just works. It doesn’t try to be all things to all people.

    More and more I am gravitating to apps that as with Simplenote fulfill one function exceedingly well, are really light on resource use and uncomplicated to use.

    I am of the opinion that many app developers are not starting with the the goal of producing something that serves a genuine need as much as trying to create a niche market for themselves so they can be the next Facebook like billionaire. Consequently, we should not be surprised given they are putting the cart before the horse that the cart doesn’t go anywhere.

  • sri charan

    I have about 350 apps on my phone and I mostly use about 10-15 at any given time….About 70% of my usage is Youtube and 25% is music player….

    Most of my apps are there just in case I might need them in the future etc., or new ones I am just trying….

    This happens to a lot of games….I play them extensively when they are released but after a few days I forget them because of another shiny new thing(game)…. Currently it’s Alto’s adventure and Real Carrom….

  • 1213 1213

    I don’t really install a lot of apps and generally use the ones I have. Probably because I don’t like investing my time into something I’d drop quickly.

  • Android Developer

    What I don’t understand are those who install an app, and never run it.
    Or those who put an empty review of the app with 1 star, without saying why.

    • balcobomber25

      I install a lot of apps and never run them. Sometimes I read about an app download it and forget it’s there or just don’t have time to open it. Eventually I end up deleting them. Happens a lot with games.

      • Android Developer

        This makes it hard for us developers to understand what’s wrong with the app, that people barely even tried it.

        • balcobomber25

          I understand that completely. Problem is there’s so many apps and not enough time lol. I do try to leave reviews good or bad for any app i do use.

  • DTGstl314

    I probably have about 150-200 apps on my phone at any given time. In an average month, I’ll probably use about 25-30 of them at least once. Average week, about 15-20. Average day, 5-10. I’m guessing there are probably at least 100 apps on my phone that I haven’t used once in the past month. Why do I keep them? Because that irrational voice in the back of my head keeps telling me not to get rid of those apps, because I might need them some day.

  • Karly Johnston

    Of course we will try them out, so 77% actually suck… sounds about right.

  • Dylan Murphy

    Yea i tend to do that a lot. Ill browse around the app store, find something that looks good, download it and try it. Most of the time ill just end up deleting the app shortly there after.

  • John

    Do your data include apps that we install > try out > find useless > un-install?