A quarter of downloaded apps are used only once

Bad news if you’re thinking of producing an app that will make you millions, a new survey has found that most downloaded apps are used only once.

Localytics studied the thousands of Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 apps over the last year, and the good news is that users are willing to give new apps a try—it took only two weeks for Robert Nay’s Bubble Ball to unseat Angry Birds. The bad news is that 26% of the time customers never give the app a second try. So make that first impression count and look beyond download statistics to understand real customer engagement.

For all new customers of an app in 2010, Localytics looked for the first time each customer used the app and whether or not there was any follow-on usage through January 26, 2011. All one-time uses of apps were grouped into the quarter they occurred and calculated as a percentage of all new customers in the same quarter.

The resulting analysis shows that for customers using an app for the first time between January and March, about 22% of them never open the app again. In the second and third quarters, the rate of one-time usage is flat at 26%. One-time usage grows to over 28% in the fourth quarter, but some of those customers may still use the app again in early 2011.

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