Research: The Life and Death of Apps

June 7, 2011 -

MTV Networks released the results from its "Love 'Em or Leave 'Em: Adoption, Abandonment and the App-Addled Consumer" study, which examines the life cycle of apps, from how consumers find them, and why people keep them or delete them. Culled from responses to a survey of more than 1,300 mobile app users, MTVN uncovered some interesting statistics related to the global app market.

Around 91 percent said apps expose them to new things; 87 percent said apps let them have fun no matter where they are or what they're doing; 77 percent said apps serve as personal assistants; 75 percent claim that apps give them time to relax; 73 say that apps allow time to connect and interact with family and friends; and 70 percent said apps make the rest of life better.

When asked what they would rather give up instead of their favorite app, 69 percent of men said their favorite news source, while 68 percent said coffee. Around 68 percent of women said they would rather go a year without soda and 63 percent would give up their favorite reality show.

On how consumers discover apps, 53 percent said that personal recommendations were important in deciding which apps to download, while 52 percent relied on user reviews and 42 percent said seeing a friend use a particular app was a critical component. Additionally, 47 percent discovered apps via app stores from Apple and Android. For free apps, a higher number of positive ratings drives most consumers (50 percent) to download. The second most-important factor (43 percent) is personal recommendations. For paid apps, price (63 percent) is very important, followed by whether there is a free or lite preview version of the app (49 percent).

TV and movie apps can have a shelf life of just a few weeks (38 percent are deleted in the first three weeks after download), but two-thirds of them (66 percent) are checked at least once a day. When users find an entertainment app that they love two-thirds check their favorite TV or Movie app at least once a day, with nearly half (44 percent) checking it several times a day. And for each time it's open, 45 percent spend more than 10 minutes with their favorite TV or Movie app. For gaming apps, the grace period is a little longer. Fewer than 20 percent of gaming apps are deleted in the first three weeks of ownership. Nearly half (49 percent) of gaming app users check their apps at least several times a day.

While the early stages of the app life cycle are often based on recommendations, the final stages are more personal - claims MTVN. Only 37 percent of entertainment apps and 39 of gaming apps continue to be used because friends use the same apps. For TV and movie apps, ease of use (79 percent) and new content (55 percent) are the biggest reasons consumers will use an app for the long term. Better alternatives (55 percent) and lack of new content (42 percent) will drive a consumer to delete an app.

Gamers look for apps that are challenging (75 percent) and easy to use (73 percent). With gaming apps, more than three-fourths (77 percent) of consumers say they'll delete an app simply after they lose interest. Three-fourths (75 percent) of consumers said it's very important that an app is "entertaining or fun to use," while 62 percent said it's very important that an app "feels good" in terms of its touch screen feel. Finally, half of participants said it's very important that an app "constantly has new things for me to see, read or do." More than eight in 10 (83 percent) said they are "often surprised at how useful an app can become even if I don't initially think this is something I need."

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