Friday, February 14, 2014

Slow Updater Purchasing Habits

David Smith:

I was a bit surprised at how straightforwardly this analysis came out. It seems clear that the distribution of people who are purchasing your apps follows closely the overall adoption of users. There doesn’t seem to be anything about their speed of update that impacts their purchasing habits.

Now, that doesn’t mean that dropping support for older versions isn’t a good idea. It just means that this particular line of reasoning shouldn’t be your primary justification. If anything this shows the importance of the dramatic speed at which the general population adopts new OS versions.

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3 Comments

I am not sure I understand his reasoning. Using David Smith's data, I actually came to the opposite conclusion: purchases are twice as likely among iOS 7 users. Here is my take on it:

http://cocoamine.net/blog/2014/03/08/correlating-app-purchases-and-os-upgrades/

@Charles I think that your analysis of Apple’s data combined with David’s tends to validate Brent’s hypothesis that people who don’t upgrade their OS don’t buy (as many) apps.

You ask how the iOS distribution between group A and group B could be different. It certainly seems plausible to me that people who found out about his app years ago could be different from the group who found out about it more recently. This is because the overall population of iOS users is changing (e.g. lower percentage of early adopters).

Suppose group A were 100% iOS 7. That would show that nobody on the older OSes is purchasing his app. It seems like that could have happened, but it didn’t. So I think David’s data are useful in that they show that he would lose sales if he dropped support for iOS 5 and iOS 6 (everything else being equal). But it is also true that those OSes are not pulling as much weight as their overall marketshare would predict.

We could also consider if group A were a much lower percentage of iOS 7 than group B. This would mean that, although he would lose sales by dropping iOS 6 support, he would not anger as much of his existing customer base. His older customers have already upgraded or abandoned the app.

@michael Good points about the group A vs B. I did not want to go into too much details about this in my post, as this was not the point, but yes, the 2 groups have likely interesting differences to study. The fact that the iOS numbers are not really different suggest that it does not matter so much in the end, of course...

The point of my post was mostly that his analysis has been going around as a counterproof to the usual take on OS adoption and customer profiles (including Brent Simmons seemingly conceding the fact), and I just could not understand the argument (and still can't). Maybe I am misunderstanding what David's data actually is. I tried to reach him out on twitter, but no response :-)

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