iOS Suffering from ‘App Overload,’ Study Shows Android Users More Engaged

iOS vs Android app engagement Localytics 1

A new report from Localytics shows that engagement in app use has increased overall in the mobile market with 20 percent of apps only opened once. That’s down six percent over the past four years. Even though Apple has the market for Web browsing on mobile devices, it turns out iPad and iPhone users are more likely to download and open an app only once compared to Android users, who also appear to be more engaged in the apps they download.

The study is based on analysis of app use across more than 1.5 billion devices and 25,000 apps around the world. According to the App Retention Rate report:

  • 20% of Apps are only opened once, improving from 26% four years ago.
  • During the same period, the percentage of apps used 11 or more times increased 13% and now comprises nearly 40% of all apps.
  • Android has greater percentage of users opening an app 11 or more times.
  • Sports and Games apps have the highest app abandonment rate of all categories, whereas Weather and Social Networking apps have the lowest.

The previous year’s study showed that 22 percent of apps across Android and iOS were only opened once, showing that app engagement is steadily improving each year. The study also showed that, over the past four years, app retention (how often an app is used) grew. The percentage of apps used 11 times or more increased to 39 percent, which is 13 percent more than it was in 2010.

According to Localytics, the improvements can be attributed to an “increased understanding of, and focus on user engagement.” It can also be due to the fact that mobile users have gotten better at figuring out which apps are of a poor quality and which are worth downloading. When I first joined the mobile market, I downloaded practically every free game in the App Store. It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed to be more discerning in my choices if I wanted to have quality time with my apps and games.

iOS vs Android app engagement Localytics 2

In 2013, Android and iOS had the same percentage of apps opened 11 times or more at 34 percent. This year, however, Android users have become more engaged with apps and games than iOS users with 45 percent of apps opened 11 times or more, compared to Apple at 34 percent. Additionally, 16 percent of Android apps were only opened once during this study while 23 percent of iOS apps were only opened once.

Localytics attributes this to app overload in the iOS App Store. “With the relatively larger number of apps installed on iOS devices, competition for an iOS user’s time increases and can weaken retention.” The research firm also points to the wider variety of Android-based devices as contributing to app engagement. Larger screen sizes for smartphones may increase user desire to use news and gaming apps.

Having a huge App Store appears to be a downside for iOS users. We’ve got too many choices and not enough time to play around with them all. When it comes to app engagement, Android is better off with its limited options. They just work with what they’ve got instead of finding the perfect app to fit their needs.

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About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • John

    Why do we see so many people bending over backwards to rationalize things in favor of the fruit company? Does anyone actually think that android has better engagement because android users work with fewer options, rather than seeking the perfect app? When both stores have over a million apps each?

    I don’t know why android has better app engagement. I do know that I personally find android phones and tablets much more pleasant to use than ios devices, and I know that this explanation is nonsense:

    “Having a huge App Store appears to be a downside for iOS users. We’ve
    got too many choices and not enough time to play around with them all.
    When it comes to app engagement, Android is better off with its limited
    options. They just work with what they’ve got instead of finding the
    perfect app to fit their needs.