App uninstall report – 2024 edition

App uninstall report 2024

In the fiercely competitive app market, retaining users has become increasingly challenging. With a multitude of competitors and rising user expectations, apps that fail to deliver quickly and effectively are at risk of being uninstalled. 

The act of uninstalling an app is a clear indication that something is wrong, making it crucial to understand why, when, and which users uninstall. This is especially vital for freemium apps where ongoing usage is critical for monetization.

Recognizing this harsh reality, more and more apps are acknowledging the factors contributing to app uninstalls, including: 

1) The sheer volume of available apps

2) The disparity between campaign promises and actual user experience

3) The impulsive nature of app installations, particularly in gaming, leading to quick deletions

4) Limited device storage capacity due to media-rich content

5) Heightened user concerns about data privacy, making them wary of sharing sensitive information with apps.

This report on industry trends and benchmarks serves as a valuable resource for app marketers actively analyzing and optimizing their uninstall rates, while also creating awareness among those who have yet to prioritize this metric.

Uninstall trends by category, geo, type, and time

Uninstall rate improves by 10% in 2023 but remains very high

Uninstalls are a fact of life for every app. But how big is the problem? According to our data (see data sample at the end of the post), more than 1 in every 2 apps that are installed are uninstalled within 30 days of being downloaded. 

Clearly, user tolerance to apps that fail to meet expectations is extremely low, especially with numerous alternatives for almost every app. Although uninstalls remain a significant pain point for apps, this is the second year we have seen improved rates (In 2023, 10% YoY uplift; In 2022 8% YoY uplift). Which is a positive trend in and of itself.

Marketers, especially in gaming, ran aggressive user acquisition campaigns to take advantage of increased screen time as smartphones become entrenched in modern society. When install activity is high, and users are more inclined to try out new apps, uninstalls also rise.

Dating & Gaming apps suffer the most, but no vertical is immune

Dating apps suffer from the highest uninstall rate, followed by Gaming and Entertainment apps. 

The fact that over 1 in every 2 gaming apps are uninstalled within 30 days is the result of the exploratory nature of games, as users constantly try out new titles. If the game doesn’t make a memorable first impression, it is usually uninstalled in a blink of an eye.

When storage space is an issue, users are far more likely to uninstall a game than delete other data. In comparison, branding goes a long way in Shopping, Finance or other lifestyle-related apps. Brands in these categories are often known to users beyond the app, making their connection much stronger. 

On the other hand, the high day 30 uninstall rate of dating apps can be explained by either the user’s lack of patience or by the idea that in this post-COVID era, people are starting to go back to old habits — face to face interactions.

Organic/non-organic gap in gaming is only 14%

Organic users have higher intent than non-organic users and therefore it is no surprise that their uninstall rate is much lower – the average among categories shows a 24% gap.

There is a clear gap between Dating apps and other categories, as non-organic reaches a 69% uninstall rate on day 30. This can be explained not only by the high number of dating apps but also by the users’ lack of patience with the experience.

Despite gaming apps ranking at #2, the disparity between organic and non-organic day 30 uninstall rates is narrower compared to non-gaming apps. In gaming apps, the gap is merely 14%, whereas in non-gaming apps, it hovers around 25%.

This observation can be attributed to the exploratory behavior commonly associated with gaming. Users often try out new games directly from the app store, resulting in a smaller gap between organic and non-organic uninstall rates within the gaming category.

Uninstalls in developing countries 20% higher than developed ones

A look at the world map shows a clear separation between developing and developed markets. Uninstalls are particularly harmful in the former, with the highest rates in the developing markets of Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

Overall, the uninstall rate in developing countries was 18% (Peru) to 30% (Pakistan) higher than the 51% average uninstall rate in developed countries (US, UK, Japan, Korea, France, and Germany). Overall, the average gap was 20%.

Having said that, developed countries are by no means uninstall-proof. The gap is mostly explained by the predominant iOS operating system and the type of high storage devices used in these countries.

Beware of Day 1

To pinpoint exactly where users are dropping off and plan optimization more strategically, marketers should also be aware of rates over time.

The data shows that the first day is when most users uninstall apps, likely the result of unmet expectations or false promises. 

Clearly, creating a superior onboarding experience through deep linking and well-crafted tutorials is essential.

Although all verticals display a similar trend over the first 30 days, Finance apps set the pace early on with 23% higher day 1 rates compared to the average of other verticals.

Uninstall rate benchmarks: average, top 25%, and top 10%

Gaming Android uninstall rates by country/category (August-November 2023) *

Search & download full table:

Non-Gaming Android uninstall rates by country/category (August-November 2023) *

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Key takeaways

Measure uninstalls

To address the significant problem of app uninstalls, it is crucial for apps to measure uninstall rates and understand the reasons, timing, and sources behind them. Implementing uninstall attribution is a quick and worthwhile step in minimizing this issue.

Prioritize first impressions

As the highest uninstall rate occurs on the first day, nailing the onboarding process becomes paramount. To reduce the uninstall rate within the first day and the first week, ensure a seamless and engaging onboarding experience that fosters a strong and lasting connection with users.

Fulfill promises

Avoid over-promising in an attempt to maximize downloads, as it can lead to frustration and potentially damage your brand irreparably.

Inform users before download

Effectively inform users about your app by utilizing video ads, playable ads when relevant, and highly descriptive app store pages featuring videos and images. The better users understand your app, the less likely they are to uninstall it.

Maintain app engagement

To prevent uninstalls, encourage ongoing user engagement from the start. Utilize all available channels such as push notifications, email, retargeting, and social media to continuously keep the app top-of-mind. Ensure optimal user experience by avoiding overexposure, carefully timing re-engagement efforts, and implementing deep linking to facilitate a seamless user journey.

Listen to user feedback

Actively engage in conversations about your app on social networks, app stores (via ratings and reviews), and communities. Respond to negative feedback by reaching out personally to dissatisfied users and addressing issues within the app.

Prioritize privacy and security

Uninstall measurement provides an opportunity to apply privacy measures by excluding users who have uninstalled the app from targeting efforts.

Define in-app KPI milestones

Understand user behavior and app performance by measuring in-app events and tracking the progress through the in-app funnel. Identify points where active users become inactive to incentivize further app usage through special promotions, discounts, etc. If there is a drop-off at a particular stage in the funnel, it indicates the need for changes within the app.

Create a fantastic app

Although this advice may seem targeted at product managers rather than marketers, the ultimate way to reduce uninstall rates is by developing an exceptional app. Regardless of marketing efforts, if the app fails to deliver a great experience, users will inevitably hit the “delete” button.

Data Sample: 

4 billion installs of apps that have uninstall attribution, from January 2022 to December 2023 (inclusive)

5,000 apps that measure uninstalls and had at least 3,000 non-organic installs a month

The uninstall rate was calculated by dividing the number of uninstalls within 30 days of downloading an app by the total number of installs.            

All results are based on fully anonymous and aggregated data. To ensure statistical validity, we follow strict volume thresholds and methodologies

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