How Often Should You Update Your (iOS) Paid App?

There was a thought provoking tweet by Alex Fehners today:

The resulting comments suggest about 1 year is a good update period to avoid the affect of reviews being reset. Obviously, this isn’t practical for most projects that need to release often.

It’s another good reason to avoid creating paid apps and look for a different business model.

Mobile Shopping Trends

dynatraceDynatrace has an interesting free report (pdf) on shopping trends based on a four country consumer survey of smartphone and tablet users conducted by Harris Poll.

Millennials (age 18 to 34) are the vanguard of shopping via mobile with 60% of them doing shopping on their devices for this holiday season compared to 42% of all adults. The activity not just the buying itself but also comparing prices, reading product reviews and downloading coupons.


It’s not just Dynatrace who are identifying these trends. Gartner also has new research that claims 50 Percent of Consumers in Mature Markets Will Use Smartphones or Wearables for Mobile Payments by 2018.

However, the uptick in mobile shopping can bring new hazards for retailers. The restricted screen size and less effort put into mobile apps than web sites can lead to abandoned transactions and tarnishing of reputation. As Shay Ben-Barak says on LinkedIn, User Experience (UX) Is Not a Step in Your Project! Consumers are now sophisticated enough to seek the experience rather than features.

Mobile Payments Lower Than Ever

infoscoutInfoScout has an article that looks into current use of mobile wallets. Apple Pay usage is at its lowest rate since they started tracking it and has only been used for 2.7% of Apple Pay-eligible transactions. Android use is only 2.0% of eligible transactions.


As previously mentioned this is probably related to security concerns and lack of incentives to pay via mobile.

Mobile Payments and Security

insidesecureINSIDE Secure has a new infographic showing that 17% more consumers will start using mobile payments over the holiday season. Nevertheless, security is still a big concern…


This correlates with previous research by Accenture where I commented that users need more motivation to pay by mobile to help overcome the security concerns.

Making Mobile Payments More Popular

accentureAccenture has a interesting new 2015 North America Consumer Digital Payments Survey (pdf) of 4,000 consumers tracking trends in consumer attitudes toward making payments today and in the future. While the report pertains to North America, the conclusions and mobile-specific implications are probably just as applicable to the rest of the World.

A relatively low 18% of consumers make mobile payments regularly. Those who do, tend to be high-income (38%) or millennials (23%). People are using cash, debit cards and cheques at about the same level as last year and, despite Apple and Google mobile payment initiatives, there hasn’t been any significant upswing in usage of digital payments. The few people using digitial payments tend to be using Paypal (16%) or paying via retail mobile payment apps (14%).


I believe the main problem is that people are continuing to use the payment methods they habitually use and more importantly trust. What does this mean for mobile developers incorporating newer payment methods into apps?

It’s all about trust and motivation. As the report mentions, we should be providing assurances that fraud will be covered and keep the buyer informed about account activity, payment and order execution. We should also be considering discount pricing, coupons and rewards points to provide incentives for buyers to switch from their tried and trusted payment methods.

In-App Purchase Characteristics of Top Apps

amazonAmazon has a new informative slideshare presentation ‘What the Top 50 Apps Do with IAP that the Rest of Us Don’t’ with insights into in-app purchasing. While the insights have been obtained from the Amazon app store, they are just as applicable to all stores and all OS platforms.
amazoniapHere are some of the learnings and consequent recommendations…

  • Start cheaper and increase price(s) over time to about 60% of the original price.
  • 48% of purchases happen within 1hr of previous purchase. Hence, make sure you offer an IAP within this time.
  • 37% of users who will purchase, purchase on the first day. Again, engage the customer early.
  • Offer between 1-5 price points for the best conversion. More prices points can confuse the user.
  • Apps with tutorials have a 2.5X higher conversion rate,
  • 1.14% of paying customers generate 30% of the sales. Cater for your best and longest customers by differenting your IAP offering.
  • As with non-IAP apps, retention is the only important metric. Give them a reason to come back, for example use social, leaderboards and achievements.

Mobile Payments and Banking Market Map

firstpartnerFirstPartner have a new 2015 version of their free Mobile Payments & Banking Market Map. It shows consumer segments, mobile financial services, types of payment, the payment value chain, payment processors and providers, technology and system vendors, regulators, industry association and standards bodies. There are also some useful statistics, for example, there are forecast to be 195 billion mobile and tablet transactions per year by 2019, a factor of three more than there were for 2014.


Mobile Payments Whitepaper

The Application Developers Alliance have a free whitepaper on Mobile Payments (pdf) with an emphasis on the issues affecting merchants.


It offers a simple overview on the payments ecosystem and covers beacons, digital currencies, omnichannel, NFC and mobile wallets. It mentions issues such as security, fraud and market fragmentation.