Today the App Store has passed the 100k apps available on the App Store (sept was officially announced 85k). This is a great news and the pace keeps growing.
But there is a bad news. Very few apps are enjoying the ride.
We have found out that actually 20k apps are actually used (meaning installed and kept on people’s iPhone). This number may grow with our user base, but it is a clear indicator that only 20% of all apps are actually raising interest.
The second number which is more dramatic is that there is a very very very long tail of apps: The graph below gives you an indication of the rank of each app we scan (based on the number of installation) and the % of users that own them.
A very little number of apps makes it above 50% of iphone owners (easy to guess which one: facebook, shazam,…) it goes down VERY fast. The app rank 1000 is owned by less than 2% of the iPhone owners (1.76%) and it goes down very fast also.
- the app store has a majority of apps (80%) not really actively installed
- Of the installed based a very little number make it to a big number of install.
- the long tail effect of the App store is dramatic
Why is this happening you ask? Well we have an idea. The App store is not designed for the long tail but for hits. No matter how great the App store is doing the discovery process is poor and only best sellers are really making it. This is even more true when you realize that most apps are downloaded from the mobile version of iTunes.
Of course this has to be ajusted by the fact that not all apps have the same “age” in the iTunes, but we saw recently growing to the top 20 in less than a month (like the Tpain apps).
App developers need to be aware of that fact. And marketing an app is more than key in this jungle. Lots of great apps are not discovered because there is only 100 places in the top 100, not because they are not great enough.