A June report from Localytics reveals smartphone owners are becoming more loyal to their apps.

iPhone Apps Displayed in iOS
The study found that iOS users – those who downloaded apps to an iPad, iPod or iPhone – were more loyal to their apps than Android users. Android users only open 23 percent of their apps 11 or more times, while iOS users open 35 percent of their apps 11 or more times. The Chief Executive of Localytics, Raj Aggarwal, explained that the disparity might exist because more apps are developed for iOS first, then ported to Android. Aggarwal said that iOS apps are “a bit more polished and mature.”

The study considered apps opened more than 11 times the high-end metric. App publishers see users as loyal and expect them to return to the app once it has been used 11 or more times. It did not distinguish between free and paid apps.

The study also found that news apps like those released by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have the highest retention rate of any type of app. 44 percent of users opened news apps 11 or more times. Gaming, entertainment and sports apps had retention rates between 33 and 36 percent. Lifestyle apps had the lowest retention rate at 15 percent. 30 percent of users only opened lifestyle apps once.

In all, the app retention rate was 31 percent in the third quarter of 2011. That represented a 19 percent increase over the third quarter 2010, with a 26 percent retention rate.

The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 30 billion apps have been downloaded from the iTunes store, which has more than 650,000 apps available to users. Android users have downloaded more than 15 billion apps from the 500,000 available in Google's Play store.

Aggarwal said that people opening an app multiple times is important because the more an app is opened, the more people are going to spend on in-app purchases. Aggarwal also explained that the retention rate of an app is often overlooked as a measure of success, but is just as important as the number of downloads an app has.

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