Nearly 90 percent surveyed stopped using an app due to poor performance, according to The App Attention Span Study, conducted by AppDynamics in partnership with the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) at Goldsmiths, University of London.
The App Attention Span investigated the impact of the increasing importance and use of mobile devices on aspects of people’s behavior, and the corresponding business implications. It reveals that, as people’s attention spans for poor-performing apps shorten, the stakes are high for any business that depends on its website or mobile app.
“With Forrester analysts projecting US mobile commerce sales alone to top $100 billion in 2014, our study underlines the importance of well performing apps,” said Tom Levey, technical evangelist at AppDynamics. “Web and mobile apps now play a prominent role in people’s lives and are central to a huge, growing digital economy.”
“Users experience a lot of negative emotions and frustrations when trying to complete some digital tasks and apps or web pages are slow to load,” said Dr. Chris Brauer, director of innovation, IMS at Goldsmiths, University of London. “Our attention span demands have adapted dramatically to the available technologies.”
Mobile applications alone now account for 25 percent of all Internet traffic, with 1.6 billion users worldwide, according to a recent report by Kleiner Perkins. In today’s digital economy, just a few seconds of app or website downtime can have a severe impact on business revenues, reputation and customer satisfaction.
The report, which includes findings from US and UK adult smartphone and tablet owners, suggests that the pressure on businesses on both sides of the pond is set to increase:
■ 65 percent of respondents agreed that their expectations of app performance are increasing over time
■ Close to half of all respondents are less tolerant of problems with apps or websites than they used to be
■ Nearly one third of smartphone and tablet owners would change banks if a mobile app wasn’t up to par
The research also shows that users don’t have much patience for poor-performing apps: 86 percent deleted or uninstalled at least one mobile app because of problems with its performance. Yet, the research indicates that smartphone and tablet owners reward businesses that get it right online:
■ 30 percent would spend more money with an organization that had a good mobile app
■ 29 percent would pay more for a product or service if the organization’s app performed better than its competitors’
“In so many ways, for so many businesses, success is now defined by software, as customers expect seamless performance and reliability from all digital services. Tellingly, our study shows that 19 percent of respondents believe they are more loyal to an app than a brand,” said Jyoti Bansal, founder and CEO of AppDynamics. “The bottom line is that organizations must deliver a reliable, consistent mobile experience to grow and protect increasingly important mobile device revenue streams and customer interactions, even under the most demanding situations. Key to this is having the necessary depth of application intelligence in real time so that any problems can be anticipated or rapidly solved.”
Dr. Brauer concludes, saying: “Asset-lite and information-rich organizations are disrupting every industry from taxis to accommodation, retail, entertainment, and logistics. The choice is either to transform into a software-defined business or figure out how you are going to compete with software-defined businesses. No sector of the economy or society will be immune to this challenge.”
Other key findings of The App Attention Span include:
■ Performance – whether it’s pages taking too long to load or browsing being slow and difficult – is the top frustration of respondents when using mobile apps and websites
■ 65 percent of respondents have experienced a mobile app crash in the past 12 months
■ For US adults surveyed, 38 percent try another app when faced with a problem, 34 percent stop using the app, and 19 percent complain to friends and family
■ Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of respondents said that banking apps were the type of apps for which flawless performance is most important, followed by travel booking services and e-commerce apps
■ For 11 percent of respondents, flawless execution was most important to entertainment apps
■ 27 percent of people surveyed said completing transactions using mobile apps is too complicated and fraught with problems
Dustin Whittle is a Developer Evangelist at AppDynamics.
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