User retention fell sharply in China, in particular.
While smartphone owners continue to download mobile apps at healthy rates, they are increasingly likely to drop them — often after a single use.
According to Localytics, roughly a quarter of apps were abandoned, an increase from 2014 when only 20 percent of apps suffered that fate. Meanwhile, the number of apps that are opened 11 or more times dropped to 34 percent from 39 percent a year earlier.
Abandonment among game players tends to be particularly high, though obviously hits can be among the stickiest items on a user’s home screen.
Smartphone owners in the U.S. are actually far more loyal than those outside of America. In the U.S., the percentage of highly-opened apps actually increased one percentage point to 42 percent, a factor that could be attributed to the significant amount of advertising that goes toward getting customers to reopen the apps they already have installed. The number of apps opened just once in the U.S. was 19 percent — the same as a year ago.
Outside the U.S., though, app abandonment was far higher, especially in China. There, some 37 percent of apps were opened just once — a sharp increase from the prior year when just 26 percent of apps saw only a single use.
Localytics suggested several likely factors, including the improving networks allowing for more app downloads and the impact of messaging platform WeChat.
“With many brands choosing to use WeChat instead of developing their own native app and WeChat also extending into commerce services, the need for other apps is decreasing quickly,” Localytics said.
Here are some charts for the U.S., China and Global app retention: