Travel Apps Have the Highest Abandonment Rate;
Weather the Lowest

App abandonment rates measure the percentage of apps only used once - in this case, 38% of Travel apps are only used once, compared to just 9% of Weather apps. Most apps fall somewhere in the 20-30% range, and this isn’t surprising; for example, Music apps are frequently used again and again to listen to saved music like playlists or to access the radio. When you’re downloading a Music app, you have this use case in mind, and know that you will be using it multiple times. However, a user might download a Travel app to plan for an upcoming trip or check flight discounts, but it’s not regularly repeatable behavior in the way listening habits are. 

 
 

 

58% Of App Users Churn Within the First 30 Days

Mobile is powerful - so it’s no surprise that more and more big brands and small startups are investing in apps. But now, with so many apps available to today's mobile users, there's a strong risk that your users might be distracted or wooed to some other app - or simply become inactive. In fact, 58% of app users churn in the first 30 days after they download your app, on average (We define churn here as “inactive” and is usually described in terms of users - i.e. “users who churn” or “users who are inactive.” In the case of an app, churn is further defined by a given timeframe, most commonly a 30 day period).

 
 

What this means, realistically, is that the first 30 days after a new user downloads your app is the most crucial time frame for influencing long-term engagement and retention. While you want to ensure that users continue to return to your app even years down the road, the key to establishing a relationship is at the onset of their initial experience. 


75% of Users Who Log Only One App Session in the First 30 Days Will Churn

 

Our recent research suggests a strong negative correlation between the number of app sessions and user churn. In other words, the more sessions app users complete in the first 30 days after downloading an app, the less likely they are to become inactive.

 
 

In the chart above, the X axis is the number of sessions per user in the first 30 days after a user downloads an app. The Y axis is the percent of users who will churn (and return) to your app in the same timeframe. The data shows that 75% of users who log just one app session in the 30 days after the app download will churn. It also shows that only 14% of users who complete 11 or more sessions in the first 30 days will churn. 

Last year we found that users with the longest first app session were the quickest to return to the app. This year, we can supplement this data with the knowledge that people who complete more sessions earlier in their lifecycle as a user are more likely to return to the app in the long-term. This data cements the fact that early, regular usage is the key to retention. Essentially, if the value isn’t clear from the get go - namely the first app session - users are unlikely to return to the app, and are at much higher risk of churning within the first month of use. 

Only 14% of users who complete 11 or more sessions in the first 30 days will churn, showing that early engagement is the key to retention.

We know that there isn’t an unlimited amount of space on a device to amass hundreds of apps, which means users experiment and pick and choose based on which apps serve a purpose, provide the best entertainment, or are the most valuable. But there are techniques at your disposal that help to re-engage and retain users, including optimizing your app feature roadmap based on the features that have the greatest impact on churn, and utilizing app messaging to give well-timed prompts. We look at some data surrounding these marketing tactics and their effectiveness in the next section!