Why Most Mobile Apps Fail


The vast majority of people in developed countries own a smartphone and most of those phones are filled with apps. It is getting to the point now where, in order to compete, and particularly to be able to offer customers a customized and unique shopping and purchasing experience, businesses need a mobile app. Not only that, but we live in an age where ideas of progress are intimately bound up with those of efficiency and automation. Apps are created to make every facet of human life easier, more predictable, and more entertaining. 

But for the successful apps we see and use in our daily lives, so many more were either dead in the water or couldn’t stand the test of time. Here are some of the reasons most mobile apps fail:

Poor Testing Procedures

So many good ideas of would-be app developers have been thwarted by poor testing procedures. At the end of the day, a brilliant idea poorly executed gets no credit. Many mobile app developers, and especially first-time developers, are unaware of the amount of testing and retooling that goes into a successful app release. 

If you don’t want your brilliant idea that could potentially satisfy an unmet market need to fall flat on its face, you need to be diligent about your regression testing. Regression testing ensures that any kinks and bugs are worked out every time you make a change to code and functionality. This process is constant and it lies at the heart of all successful app launches. 

Don’t Serve a Market Need

An app is like any product or service: if it doesn’t serve a genuine market need, why would anyone buy or use it? The problem most creators have is they are biased by their own proximity to their creation. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the creative process and to believe that because you think something is ingenious others will perceive it similarly, but that is often not the case. 

If a mobile app doesn’t help users do something they find useful–find a service or product, make using a service or product better or easier, streamline and manage a part of their life–there is little reason to keep it around once downloaded, and certainly no reason to pay for a premium subscription. 

Another App Does it Better

Another reason many apps don’t pass muster is that others already do, and much better. One of the good and bad things about a digital global economy, in general, is that competition is high. This is good for consumers, but bad for creators. Not only is having and acting on an original idea more difficult but so is creating the best and most popular version of something. 

Many mobile app developers fail to do adequate market research before forging ahead with their ideas and end up creating something that another individual or company has already come up with, and done it better. That is not to say that an app idea has to be one that no other person on this planet of 7.8 billion people has ever thought of–it is possible to make successful variants–but don’t invest your time and money until you know what’s out there. 

No Monetization Strategy

In order to make money off an app–which is the point for most mobile app developers–there has to be a strategy in place for it. Many creators who believe in their idea think they are going to release their marvel to the world, immediately draw in customers and users, and start printing money. 

In reality, only a minuscule fraction of apps are ever financially successful and that is because the designers never figured out how to build sustainable revenue streams into them. What’s more, in order to continue to build on and perfect an app, you need to have money coming in. 


In addition to good testing, serving market needs, doing it better than the competition and being able to monetize, creating a successful mobile app also requires a lot of time, some technical knowledge and perseverance. A good idea is not enough. If people were comfortable being brutally honest with themselves more often, they would likely realize it frequently isn’t even that great of an idea. Most mobile apps are destined to fail and knowing why before designing and building your own is half the battle. 

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