Opportunity Time - More than 30% of Apps on the App Store & Google Play are Abandoned

Ariel Ariel
2 minute read 2/17/23

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - Lots of Opportunities. Check out the full article for more insights.


Opportunity Time - More than 30% of Apps on the App Store & Google Play are Abandoned

There are millions of apps and games on the App Store and Google Play, but just how many are being developed actively?

Knowing the numbers could be the key to finding opportunities for development. I'll show you how after looking at the data.

I used Explorer to group all apps and games available for download on the App Store and Google Play by when they were last updated. I used percentages instead of absolute numbers because the stores are very different in terms of the number of available apps.

Looking at the groups, it's clear most apps, 34%, across both stores haven't been updated in over two years, which is what Apple calls abandoned.

The same holds true when looking at each store individually.

On the App Store, 30% of apps and games haven't been updated in more than 2 years and on Google Play that figure jumps to a whopping 37%.

Looking at the category breakdown of abandoned apps and omitting games, it's Education, Utilities, and Business that take the cake across both stores. Education may not be an easy one to develop for, but Utilities and Business certainly are.

I went through the popular ones and many are still getting many new downloads and ratings, meaning they're still in use today. The list has many games, but also apps from big developers including Apple, Instagram, and even the USPS which hasn't updated its app since 2021.

If you're a developer, here's the opportunity and how to capture it.

Abandoned apps that are still getting downloads just beg to be replaced by newer and better ones. Or at the least, ones that continue to get more features.

All you have to do is find an abandoned app that's still popular, brownie points if it's also ranking well in some relevant keywords, and build a better version by taking all the feature suggestions and complaints from the app's reviews and building them or fixing them.

Here's how I'd do it:

  1. Using Explorer, set the update date filter's "to" field to "2 years ago" - this will give you a list of all apps that haven't been updated.
  2. Sort by the number of ratings in descending order - this will give showcase apps that are still popular.
  3. Optional: Use the category filter to zoom in on categories you want to build for. You can also use the "not" modifier to exclude categories you aren't interested in (like games).
  4. Once you identify a candidate app to replace, track it in your Appfigures account as a competitor. You can use the Basic option if you don't care about its downloads.
  5. Visit the App Keywords report to see which keywords it's already ranked in. You want to see some ranks for relevant keywords. They don't have to be high, but high ones are even better.
  6. Then, head into the Reviews section to read all of its reviews to identify what it's missing.

If you want me to demonstrate these steps in a video let me know.

FYI - Some of this can be done with the free plan but I'd recommend the Monitor plan to get access to ASO data or Grow plan to have all results in Explorer.

Back to the numbers for a moment.

These figures aren't surprising overall and as development becomes easier thanks to improvements in Swift and Kotlin which make native development easier and non-native frameworks like React Native and Flutter, I expect more apps to flood both stores and get abandoned more often.

Again, a great opportunity for developers who are paying attention.

App Intelligence for Everyone!

The insights in this report come right out of our App Intelligence platform, which offers access to download and revenue estimates, installed SDKs, and more! Learn more about the tools or schedule a demo with our team to get started.

Are you a Journalist? You can get access to our app and market intelligence for free through the Appfigures for Journalists program. Contact us for more details.

All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

Tagged: #business #dev

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