A study into the way people use downloaded iPhone applications has shown that most are barely used at all.
The research from analytics firm Pinch Media showed that only 30 per cent of people who had purchased an application from the Apple App Store actually used it within a day of installing it, and the figures were even worse for software that was free.
"Paid applications generally retain their users longer than free applications, although the drop-off is still pretty steep," said the company.
"Users stop using the average applications pretty quickly. The long-term audience is generally one per cent of total downloads."
The findings, presented at the New York iPhone Software Developers Meetup, contain worrying news for software developers working on the iPhone platform.
The bulk of applications have a very short half life, and most are abandoned by users relatively quickly. While users value paid applications more than free ones, the actual usage rates barely differ.
Price, however, is important. Dropping the price of an application increases demand by 130 per cent, Pinch Media said, while raising the price cuts downloads by 25 per cent.
Advertising within applications is not as effective as charging for the initial download, according to the data. Advertising rates are so low that it is better to charge for the application rather than rely on revenues from long-term users watching adverts.
In the short term, sports applications were the most popular among users. But it is games that hold users' interests in the long term.
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