It isn’t hard to surmise that most people have shorter-than-usual attention spans these days, but AppDynamics has finally given us a study with quantifiable figures to prove just how little patience smartphone users have when it comes to slow apps.
Last week, the company released its App Attention Span study, which found that nearly 88 percent of respondents deleted or uninstalled at least one mobile app due to performance problems. That means companies with slow or underperforming apps are more likely to lose money as consumers quickly move on to better performing software.
In a joint study with the Institute of Management Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, AppDynamics surveyed both U.S. and U.K. adult tablet and smartphone owners on their relative browsing and buying habits with mobile applications. Not surprisingly, a majority of respondents said slow loading times are the top source of frustration when using apps and mobile websites, with 27 percent saying that completing a transaction on a mobile device was too complicated or difficult.
"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, in a statement.
"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."
Compounding the problem further, mobile users are becoming less and less patient with their apps than ever before, as expectations of speedy performance ultimately lead users to ditch slow apps in favor of new ones. With the proliferation of mobile apps and mobile sites available, consumers are simply finding it easier to go elsewhere instead of waiting for an app to work as planned. And with recent reports finding that mobile apps now account for 25 percent of all Internet traffic, a few lost seconds of time for web browsers could mean millions in lost revenue for businesses.
"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 Chris Brauer, director of Innovation, IMS at Goldsmiths, University of London. "Our attention-span demands have adapted dramatically to the available technologies."
But despite having a near-insatiable need for speed, many smartphone and tablet users are quick to reward their favorite businesses when particular apps are working as expected. About 30 percent of respondents said they would be willing to spend more money with an organization that had a good mobile app, with an another 29 percent agreeing they would pay more for a product or service if the organization’s app performed better than its competitors’.
With the ability to shop and do business on mobile devices now seen as a right more than as a novelty, developers and businesses will have to work even harder to keep their users from hitting the delete button on their apps. Just like with the advent of the remote control, dozens of potentially better options are just a few clicks away, meaning that developers need to bring their A-game if they want to keep users’ eyes and thumbs planted to their apps.