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Android users in SA uninstalling apps faster than global average

Lungile Msomi
By Lungile Msomi, ITWeb journalist
Johannesburg, 14 Feb 2024
Netta Lev Sadeh, MD of EMEA-SANI at AppsFlyer.
Netta Lev Sadeh, MD of EMEA-SANI at AppsFlyer.

South African Android users are clearing their phone storage at an alarming rate, uninstalling apps twice as fast as the global average, according to a new report by AppsFlyer.

While the average app in the world survives for about two months, South Africans typically ditch them within a month.

The report monitored four billion installs of apps that have uninstallation feature, from January 2022 to December 2023. The uninstall rate was calculated by dividing the number of uninstalls within 30 days of downloading an app by the total number of installs.

The report reveals that South Africa has a 58% uninstall rate, 7% higher than the global average. In South Africa, it notes, Android users account for 85% of the market share, while iOS users account for 16% of the market share.

The company says it does not have statistics for iOS because iOS uninstall tracking is limited after iOS 15.

AppsFlyer says some of the reasons for the high uninstall rate in South Africa are abundance of available apps, discrepancies between marketing promises and user experience, impulsive installation behaviours such as installing a "free trial" app, storage constraints on smartphones, heightened data privacy concerns, and high data costs.

The report highlights a global uninstall rate of 92% for apps downloaded through marketing efforts within 30 days, surpassing the 66% rate for organically discovered apps.

Organic installs are described as users finding and installing apps through unpaid channels, while non-organic installs involve acquiring users through paid channels like social media ads.

“Organic installs are often considered more valuable as they represent genuine user interest in the app rather than being driven by external marketing efforts, but the significance of non-organic installs cannot be overlooked,” explains AppFyler’s Netta Lev Sadeh.

Non-organic uninstall rates reveal social media apps leading at 92.42%, followed closely by dating apps at 84.60%. In other categories, non-organic uninstall rates are 70.75% for shopping apps, and 73.56% for entertainment apps and 77.67% for photo and video apps.

In comparison, organically installed social media apps stand at a 65.91% uninstallation rate, followed by a 68.78% lifestyle apps and 71.79% for dating apps.

“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,” says AppsFlyer.

In response to these challenges, AppsFlyer suggests app developers measure uninstalls, prioritise first impressions, maintain app engagement, prioritise privacy and security and inform users on the app before they download it.

Sadeh also suggests that collaboration between app developers and internet service providers to develop zero-rated apps, where specific apps don't consume data, and optimising network infrastructure are potential strategies.

“It’s easier to delete apps not in current use and reinstall them when needed than maintaining them on their phone as this can impact data consumption. In order for there to be change, there would have to be massive infrastructural change which will drive down the cost of data for the end user,” concludes Sadeh.