Over the last 10 years, as smartphone ownership has become the de facto standard, the way we use our devices has changed dramatically.  When the first iPhone launched in 2007, cell phones were still mostly viewed as simply a portable version of the landline.  Today, however, placing a call can seem almost anachronistic in a world where our pocket computers are capable of taking high-definition pictures, navigating unfamiliar roadways, and uploading posts to our social media accounts.

"There's an app for that"

Apple's catchphrase pithily captured their vision of a future where the app store would serve as the nexus for interfacing with world.  Over the next few years, it became an industry standard for every consumer-facing company to maintain their own app: news app, game app, delivery app, an app for your gym, an app for getting more apps, and so on and so forth.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

But what Apple and many others failed to consider was the innate limitation of our attention spans.  Although the average American adult spends 3 to 4 hours per day on their smartphone, over 90% of that time is spent on just 5 apps.  That's especially telling considering the fact that there are over 2 million apps available in the app store today.

The death of apps

While there are a few big winners (messaging apps, social media, and music apps) the average app loses about 90% of its users within 3 days.  Nowadays, unless it serves an essential and consistently relevant function, most people refuse to even download a new app.  Add to that the exorbitant cost of creating one, (~$500K - $1M) and it's clear that the app boom is over.

The bottom line is that fitness club apps can still be useful if they enable easy class registration or fulfill other vital functions.  But when it comes to engagement, your app is competing with millions of direct-to-consumer apps that are usually more specialized, better marketed, and developed with bigger budgets.

The best place to engage with customers is where they already spend their time, and in 2019, that means messaging apps and social media.

Source: Flurry Analytics

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