An app’s shelf life lasts exactly as long as it can hold users’ attention. iPhone owners chew through apps, gulping down their content, then tossing them out and moving on. Studies show that the average user never launches an app more than 20 times before abandoning it. Less than 15% of downloaded apps get so much as a glance over the course of a week, and two months after purchase, only one-third of downloaded apps ever get used again.
This may not matter to you if your goal is to build one-off novelty apps; in that case, you might even expect people to launch your app only a few times. Laugh delivered, mission accomplished. If you’re trying to grow a following for your app, however, this is uncomfortable news. According toone survey, nearly half of all apps are downloaded based on a friend’s recommendation. Loyal users spread the word, but few apps ever manage to create a huge fan base. If you’re trying to create a long-term relationship with your audience, your app has to keep giving.