Most smartphone users are aware that their device can run third party applications, which can be anything from games to social networks, to sports information applications, photography applications and utilities. And with hundreds of thousands of third party applications available via the Google Play Store, and many customers having dozens of applications installed on their device, how do we use these applications? And how might our use change in the future? According to a survey of one thousand mobile users conducted by Localytics in October, some 92% of consumers expect to either increase or maintain their third party application use. However, we are fickle when it comes to our application use: it transpires that we only try a new application on average 4.5 times before we abandon the application and uninstall it. Localytics’ data shows that 25% of applications are only used once before being uninstalled (or abandoned). 75% of customers will abandon the application inside three months.
Digging deeper into the information provided by Localytics, 57% believe they will use more applications in the future and of these, 61% believe it is because applications will help them manage their digital lives. On average, consumers are launching applications on average 15 times a day and use 18 applications a month. More than half of users wanted applications to always apply their stated preferences and wished the application to understand and remember the last action taken in the application. This information should be displayed when relaunching.
Our application use is typically in short bursts of activity, called “snacking” by the report. This means seeing short sessions of use, flicking from application or service to another. Two thirds of us use social media applications like this, 57% on weather applications and just under half on gaming applications. Sports applications are slightly less popular with 43% of users snacking on these applications.
One of Google’s quandaries with third party applications is that providing customers with a thriving application store helps ensure the platform remains popular. However, the more third party applications that are used on our devices, the less that the mobile web browser is used and as a consequence, the less information acquired by Google, especially using Google Search. The information in the Localytics reports suggests that more customers will be increasing their reliance on third party applications, rather than reducing it and this highlights how Google needs to adapt how it gathers and uses anonymous information from customers going forwards.