About a week ago, adjust (the app analytics firm) published an interesting report about iOS App Store and the growing amount of “Zombie” apps there. “Zombie” apps are defined (in this report) as “apps that are not visible in the store as they occupy not a single ranking in any top list worldwide”. Put differently, it means that the only way to reach these apps is by looking for a specific type of app or by searching the app’s exact name. The report refers to Apple’s App Store only, and provides no stats on Google Play. In our opinion it is quite plausible to assume that the similar trends apply for Google Play as well. However, there is a huge difference between the app stores; while Google Play allows 3rd party app discovery tools to run and assist users, Apple prohibits such services as it attempts to take full ownership on it. Here are the most important findings of the report, as we see it:
- The growth of “zombie” apps in 2014 was outstanding. As of January 2014 around 74% of total apps were “zombies”, while at the end of 2014 their share reached almost 83%. Still, it’s way more impressive when comparing in absolute figures — “zombies” increased from 658k to 1,137k, i.e. up by 72%. During this period the total amount of apps in the app store increased “only” by 54% (see chart 1).
- The share of “zombies” varies substantially across app categories. The report examines 23 app categories overall, and compares the share of “zombies” in each and every one of them. We interpret this rate as a proxy for determining how harsh the competition between the app in each category is (a higher rate means a fiercer competition…). New app developers may take this information into consideration prior to starting working on their new app and aim for the more competitive category… The report points out that the category with the highest “zombie” rate is business apps, whose “zombie” rate exceeds 91% of all apps. On the other end of he scale, there’s the weather apps, in which only 50.1% of apps are “zombies”. For the distribution of zombie rates across categories please see Chart 2 below.
- “The App Store is dead” — That’s the report’s conclusion, and we couldn’t agree more with it. In case you’re looking to discover a new app, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to do so in the App Store. You should probably try somewhere else. The gem that awaits your discovery is probably buried under piles other apps sorted in long long lists. By the way, many other apps in these lists are gems as well. Anyway, discovery of a new app is literally impossible, same as finding a needle in a haystack. Unless Apple provides a true solution, or lets someone else do it, our guess is that the problem will only escalate. I can only wonder what Rick Grimes might have done do about it…
*The quote from adjust’s report is “The App Store is dead”. We contributed the “(iOS)”