How Startups can Fight App Abandonment in the App Store

November 21, 2016 - 3 minutes read

The annual App Store statistics are in, and the results don’t look good for small-time mobile app developers. According to Adobe Analytics, overall app installs are only up 6% this year — while installs for the top 10% of “most popular” apps are up an impressive 24%.

What does this mean for NYC iPhone app developers? Well for starters, it means that startups need to ingest a healthy dose of realism before they plop down tens of thousands to pursue their app dreams. (Yes, VC funds are real money, in spite of how some greenhorn startups spend it.)

It also signals that startups need to focus on growth areas and value. According to the study results, “it wasn’t useful” was the most popular reason for users removing apps from their phones. That’s a sad thing to here, considering the heavy emphasis on user happiness and customer-first thinking that app development studios regard with a religious importance.

While the overall stats don’t look great, there are some silver linings. FinTech apps, for example, have been gaining steam in a serious way, with installs up several times the overall average, even for small startups and app developers. This is driven by the fact that FinTech is relatively new compared to some other app categories, as startups have run into many challenges trying to circumnavigate the complexity and regulation of a market dominated by big corporations — who have good reason to shut the door on companies that can serve their customers better than they can, for less.

Gaming apps, meanwhile, showed some of the highest churn — although gaming app developers are quick to point out that the “disposable” nature of games lends itself to fast turnover, which can often be mitigated financially by more aggressive in-app purchasing options and monetization.

So far as the startup world goes, the message is clear: concentrate on newer categories, and make sure your app can provide more value than the “mainstream” option that’s most similar. Consumers will always pick Facebook over something they’ve never heard of for social networking. But if your app can differentiate significantly (think, success is far more likely to find you and your team.

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