26 Percent of Mobile Apps Downloaded and Used Only Once

How many times have you downloaded a free app from the App Store, played with it once, and discarded it? Or Android users, how many times have you done the same or bought an app, used it once, then refunded it (ahem, Apple)?

Apparently, people do it a lot. According to Localytics, 26 percent of the apps downloaded in were tried once, and never again. That was just long enough to decide the app was worthless, not as advertised, or just not what was expected. Here's what they said:
Localytics studied the thousands of Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 apps using its real-time app analytics service. 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.

It just goes to show that basing popularity on the number of times an app is downloaded isn't the right way to do it. It also shows that the refund policy on Android is something the App Store may want to look into.