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Localytics: Only 26 pct of mobile app users become “loyal customers”

It’s not secret that apps are a good part of the magic fuel driving the growth of the smartphone and tablet computing markets—users aren’t restricted to using merely the function built into a device, and services like the Android Market and iTunes App Store provide myriad ways for users to get more function (or more fun) out of their devices. However, mobile metrics firm Localytics finds that while smartphone and tablet users are very willing to give apps a spin, comparatively few stick with apps and become loyal customers. According to their usage data, just 26 percent of new customers eventually become “loyal customers” of a mobile app, launching it 10 or more times.

Perhaps more troubling for developers just as many people who try an app—26 percent—never launch it again. And apps’ additional usage drops precipitously from there, with fewer than half of an apps customers launching it four or more times.

All the figures reflect app usage starting the third calendar quarter of 2010 and running forward through early March 2011; the data reflect iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7 apps that are subscribed to Localytics mobile app analytics service.

“With over 10 billion downloads from just Apple’s App Store, it’s clear that people are very willing to try new apps,” Localytics wrote. “It’s equally clear that app developers and publishers need to look beyond downloads and focus marketing resources on attracting and retaining the quarter of customers who tend to become loyal users.”

The figures match rsults Localytics published earlier this year indicating some 26 percent of mobile apps were launched just one time.