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Response to the Compete Study

April 18, 2009

The App Store is about to hit one billion downloads. And according to an upcoming Compete study, the most coveted one billionth download might be from…drum roll please…weather.com? The report cites weather-related apps as ranking third (at 39 percent) for iPhone applications most used. Not surprisingly Facebook came in first at 25 percent with games ranking second at 20 percent.

In contrast, Mobclix analytics data indicates that weather-related apps are by no means the most popular, nor the most developed kind of app. The two most prevalent app types fall under either the games or entertainment categories – and game apps routinely hold the top spot for most apps, most downloads and most revenue. Our research also shows that games and entertainment apps make up over 50 percent of the total app market, whereas utilities-related apps (which would encompass weather) come in at fourth, and hold only 9-10 percent of the total market share.

Anyone who is vaguely familiar with apps understands that they are highly diverse in both function and form and therefore imprudent to compare. For example, while one iPhone user might play Super Monkey Ball twice a day, he or she may be using the Twitter app up to eight or nine times a day. App attrition rates – much like the apps themselves – vary heavily based on the purpose of the app. At Mobclix we’ve found that 20 percent of users who download an application use it every day.

The one truth that does seem to hold for all apps is that free apps generate the most enthusiasm among users and are therefore downloaded at much higher rates than their paid counterparts. Based on our in-house buzz index – which monitors user sentiments regarding apps across the web – we reported that 60 percent of online buzz around App Store apps regard those that are free. So no matter what features an app has to offer, the price is what counts. Developers of paid apps should consider addressing this problem by offering lite apps (essentially providing trial versions of their apps) to entice preliminary downloaders to make the full purchase.

At the end of the day, the Compete report is a survey, and as surveys tend to extrapolate a general estimation from a smaller sample population, results can be, and most often are, highly subjective. One of the key features that sets Mobclix apart from our competitors is our ability to supply a code that collects hard data on an application, thereby providing our clients with an accurate understanding of their mobile app users.

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