On the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone launch, app performance problems remain a major challenge, preventing many from realising their full potential.
As consumers have come to rely heavily on apps for everything from shopping and banking, to dating and exercising, a burgeoning app economy has emerged; forecast to be worth $100bn by 2020. As app developers have worked to tap into this huge market, the number of apps available in the Apple App Store has skyrocketed by 2,750% – rising from just 800 in July 2008 to 2.2 million by January 2017. Apple netted a cool $29bn in revenue from the store last year, up $9bn from the previous year.
However, Gartner estimates that by 2019, 20% of brands will abandon their mobile apps, due to levels of adoption, customer engagement and return on investment being significantly less than expectations.
Research from app performance management specialist, Dynatrace, shows that 47% of consumers expect mobile apps to load in less than three seconds and 75% will abandon it and go elsewhere if the app is slow, buggy or prone to crashes.
Furthermore, Dynatrace’s research has found that nearly a third (32%) of consumers will not use a mobile app again if it fails to work the first time. And 50% of Millennials will voice their bad experiences on social media and app store reviews.
Data security firm Blancco has also published its latest State of Mobile Device Performance and Health Report, which has found that crashing apps were the most frequent performance issue impacting on iOS devices, found to be accountable for 32% of all problems.
Dave Anderson, digital performance expert, Dynatrace, said: “It’s almost inconceivable that mobile apps still crash and falter at the rate they do. Consumers are spoiled for choice with so many apps to choose from, so they won’t hang around for poor performance. They’ll abandon it and find something better – even if it’s a free application. That puts a lot of pressure on developers to ensure their app works all the time, while satisfying the demand for it to be constantly updated with awesome new features.
“It’s really hard to achieve that kind of stability while innovating fast; especially when you consider that digital natives like Amazon have set the bar incredibly high, releasing software updates every 11 seconds. These rapid release cycles make it very tough to fix bugs, optimise the app and make sure security is good, but developers don’t have a choice if they’re to compete against today’s consumer expectations and the benchmarks in performance set by the leaders – like Apple, Uber, Amazon. It’s therefore crucial to consistently test and monitor how any changes made to an app will impact its performance, so developers can see problems clearly, and instantly identify the root cause in the event they do arise. However, that task is becoming far more challenging, as the digital ecosystem becomes ever more complex.”
New device types are emerging on an almost weekly basis, and the IT stack that underpins mobile apps is evolving constantly – and extremely complicated now, Anderson explained.
He said: “Added to that, performance problems could relate to anything from the app itself to a particular device type, network carrier or operating system. As such, the old, manual ways of monitoring apps aren’t suitable for today’s app economy. Businesses need to turn to the powerful analytical capabilities of Artificial Intelligence to make sense of performance data and uncover the root cause of any problems before users feel the pain and start to abandon their apps.”