Report: One in five iOS apps are basically dead

One in five iOS apps are effectively dead and nearly 80 percent are "zombies" that don't get enough activity to rank on the charts, according to Adjust. The firm, formerly known as AdEven, recently released a study that tracked both apps that fail to be discovered and those that have been pulled from the App Store by either Apple or the developer. 

  • Of the 1,601,413 total apps that have been uploaded to the App Store over the past six years, 350,000 have been pulled from the store or could be considered "dead apps." 
  • Books (27 percent), Entertainment (25 percent) and Utilities (24.9 percent) have the highest percentage of dead apps, whereas the Games category has the highest absolute number of dead apps (65,643 apps at 21.7 percent).
  • Four-fifths of apps cannot count on the App Store's top lists to promote their discovery and bring them valuable organic users.
  • 578,000 new apps will enter the App Store by July 2015.

Source: Adjust

"Technically, both Apple and the publisher (often the developer) can pull apps from the App Store. Apple will execute pulls when an app is found to violate the App Store Publication Terms," the report said. "Developers (may) pull the app temporarily to ramp up interest for a re-launch (e.g. Skype 5.0). We found no significant correlation between crash reviews or negative reviews of an app and an app being pulled from the store."

While it's more than discouraging to see so many dead or zombie apps littering the iOS space, the most salient point here is probably the one about the App Store's top lists. Hoping for that kind of organic momentum at this point is probably the developer equivalent of praying for a miracle, particularly considering Adjust's prediction about the nearly 600,000 apps that will enter the market by next summer. The only option is to place more emphasis on marketing, tracking adoption via analytics and continuing to refine customer acquisition and retention strategies. Otherwise, the data here suggests that if misery loves company, app developers may have more company among the zombies than they could ever want. 

For more:
- see the study here

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