Localytics Indexes

Helping marketers better understand app user trends.


Q3/Q4 2015 Localytics Indexes Highlights:

Localytics regularly produces two indexes: the App Stickiness Index, which measures the average of an app’s engagement and retention, and the App Launches Index, which tracks the average number of times an app was launched per month, with the goal of tracking overall and seasonal changes in app usage.

Here are the highlights from the second half of 2015:

  • After a sharp increase in Q3, the App Stickiness Index remained steady throughout Q4 and ended the year thoroughly outperforming 2014. 2015 saw the strongest performance for two out of three of the metrics (Stickiness and Engagement) in the Index since the Index was started.
  • After a volatile Q1 and Q2, Media & Entertainment apps experienced steady growth in the second half of 2015 to remain the Stickiest vertical, with Technology apps ending the year in second place within the Stickiness Index.
  • In the App Launches Index, eCommerce & Retail apps had the best performance, peaking at 18.6 app launches per month in Q4. Travel & Lifestyle apps lost their top spot in app launches from the first half of 2015, ending up in 3rd place with an average of 11.0 app launches for the second half of the year.

Key Terms

  • Engagement: As measured by Power Users – the percentage of an app's users who have 10+ sessions in a month (i.e. how many highly engaged users an app has).
  • Retention: As measured by Loyal Users – the percentage of an app's users who return to the app within 3 months of their first session (the industry benchmark to measure loyalty and churn).
  • App Stickiness: Average of an app's Engagement and Retention.
  • App Launches: Average number of times an individual app is launched per month.

Localytics App Stickiness Index

The Localytics App Stickiness Index measures how well apps are engaging users and avoiding churn, in aggregate. The Index is a composite of three key app metrics: the first two are Engagement, as measured by Power Users, and Retention, as measured by Loyal Users; see “Key Terms” for definitions. The third measurement is Stickiness, the average of the Engagement and Retention metrics; a “sticky” app is one that engages users frequently and over time.

Localytics App Stickiness Index Jan 2013 - Dec 2015

FusionCharts XT will load here!
  •  Power Users
  •  Loyal Users
  •  App Stickiness

App Stickiness increased to 26 percent in Q3 from 24 percent at the end of Q2, and then held strong at 26 percent to finish up the year. With this strong performance, 2015 proved to be the best year yet for apps to engage users frequently and retain them over time. With an average “Stickiness” of 25 percent in 2015, the only other year that came close was 2012, with an average of 24 percent.

App Stickiness Average
2012 24%
2013 22%
2014 21%
2015 25%

The App Stickiness metric is as such, App Stickiness remained steady in the second half of 2015 due to both metrics evening out throughout the second half of the year.

By the end of Q4, an average of 31 percent of users returned to an app 10 or more times a month (the Engagement metric in the Index). This strong finish made 2015 the best year for App Engagement, with an average rate of 31 percent compared to an average of 26 percent in 2014, 25 percent in 2013, and 24 percent in 2012.

App Engagement Averages
2012 24%
2013 25%
2014 26%
2015 31%

After a lackluster performance in the first half of 2015, Retention, or the average percent of users who return to an app three months after their first session, saw a huge lift in Q3 and then finished the year at 21 percent. The surge in App Retention during the second half of 2015 gave the year an overall average user retention of 18 percent, a 2 percentage point increase over 2014.

App Retention Averages
2012 24%
2013 18%
2014 16%
2015 18%

Localytics App Stickiness Index by Vertical Jan 2013 - Dec 2015

FusionCharts XT will load here!
  •  eCommerce & Retail
  •  Games
  •  Media & Entertainment
  •  Technology
  •  Travel & Lifestyle

Media & Entertainment

After experiencing a good deal of fluctuation in Q2, Media & Entertainment apps began to steadily increase their Stickiness in the second half of 2015. Media & Entertainment apps ended the year with a Stickiness of 31 percent, helping the vertical to hold onto its position as the most “sticky.”


Technology apps finished 2015 on a high note, reaching the highest Stickiness percentage since October 2013 with 26 percent. Both Engagement and Retention of Technology apps steadily increased during the quarter, which brought up the average Stickiness and pushed the vertical to claim the #2 spot for being the “most sticky”.

eCommerce & Retail

eCommerce & Retail apps saw a Stickiness high of 25 percent in Q3 before dipping slightly to end 2015 at 24 percent, a massive improvement over the first half of the year’s average of 16 percent. The main cause of the Q4 decrease was a decline in Engagement, meaning there were less “power” users who returned to the app 10 or more times in the months of October, November, and December.

Travel & Lifecycle

After a strong start to 2015, Travel & Lifestyle apps’ Stickiness decreased in the second half of 2015 and ended the year at 22 percent. This caused the vertical to become the the 4th “most sticky” vertical in Q4 2015, only beating out Games apps.


The Games vertical continued its steady trend and ended 2015 with a Stickiness of 20 percent. Gaming apps performed very similar in 2012 and 2013, but had a much better performance than 2014, where the end of the year Stickiness was just 17 percent.

Localytics App Launches Index

The Localytics App Launches Index tracks the average number of times an app was launched each month. By measuring the trend of app launches, app marketers not only know that their apps are being used frequently, but also how often they are used over time.

Localytics App Launches per Month Jan 2013 - Dec 2015

FusionCharts XT will load here!
  •   App Launches per Month

App launches continued to improve, signifying that people continue to regularly return to apps.

For the second half of 2015, app launches saw a big jump in Q3 from 11.7 in September to 12.8 in October. Then, they remained at 12.8 for the month of November before taking a slight dip in December to an average of 12.6 app launches. Despite the small dip in December, the frequency of app launches grew overall, with the average number of app launches for Q4 2015 reaching an all-time high of 12.8. This is likely due to eCommerce & Retail apps being launched more during the holidays.

Year over year, 2015 was also the strongest year for app launches, with an average of 11.4 launches per month compared to 10.1, 9.7 and 7.7 in 2014, 2013 and 2012 respectively.

Average App Launches
2012 7.7
2013 9.7
2014 10.1
2015 11.3

Localytics App Launches by Vertical Jan 2013 - Dec 2015

FusionCharts XT will load here!
  •  eCommerce ' Retail
  •  Games
  •  Media ' Entertainment
  •  Technology
  •  Travel ' Lifestyle

eCommerce & Retail

eCommerce & Retail apps increased their monthly app launches with a huge jump to 18.6 in October. The average app launches slightly dropped in November and December, but ended the year at an all-time year-end high of 17.5 app launches.

Media & Entertainment

App launches for Media & Entertainment apps remained flat in Q2 and Q3 of 2015. The vertical ended the year slightly better than the previous year with 13.1 app launches compared to 12.1 at the end of 2014.

Travel & Lifestyle

Travel & Lifestyle apps had a difficult second half of 2015 due to a decrease in app launches for Q3 before ending the year with an average of 11.2 app launches. This vertical was the only one unable to outperform last year’s results.


2015 was the best year for app launches for the Technology vertical in recent years, ending the quarter at 10.2 average app launches. The strong second half to 2015 gave the vertical an overall average of 10.3 app launches per month, compared to 9.4 in 2014, 9.3 in 2013, and 8.3 in 2012.


Gaming apps continued to steadily increase and ended 2015 with an all-time high of 9.8 app launches, making 2015 the best year for app launches for this vertical.