Apple can market that the iPhone platform has thousands upon thousands of applications to choose from but if users don't stay loyal to those applications, is it actually useful? According to Flurry, a mobile analytics group, Android users have a higher application retention rate than their iPhone user counterparts. Meaning, in the long term Android users will continue to use applications while iPhone users will move on to another application.

Why is this so? Flurry suggest three theories:

  • Android offers far fewer applications compared to iPhone. With applications coming out on iPhone at a faster rate, iPhone users move onto other apps more quickly. For Android users, they make more use of what’s available, with less temptation to move to the next application.
  • The Android base tends to be “older,” have less time and interest to try new applications. Once they find an application they like, they stick with it.
  • The Android base is more tolerant, tend to be more tech savvy and find ways to appreciate what they have, even if their applications aren’t perfect.

From the suggested theories, the first theory sounds the most correct without needing to take leaps into assumptions. Android users have less applications to choose from which leads to less competition among apps, less apps to filter, and so on. It should actually come to no surprise that Android users are more 'loyal' to their applications than iPhone users. What is impressive is the difference between the two user bases, Android holds a significant edge in app retention--nearly 42% higher.

Why is this important? Well if I was a developer looking to 'make it' in the mobile market, I would take these statistics very seriously. It raises the question, is it better to have your application downloaded more but used less frequently or downloaded less with higher usage? Time will tell what developers turn to.

What do you guys think?

[via mobilecrunch]