Why Mobile Apps Fail

Successful mobile app development begins with a great idea. Its execution requires systematic planning that will lead it to success. Surely, not every mobile app succeeds. The mistakes sometimes lead to the failure of an app. Here we learn from mistakes about why some mobile apps fail eventually.


The two biggest app stores are Google Play for Android and App Store for iOS. Some others include Amazon app store, Ovi (Nokia), Windows phone store and Blackberry World. In 2013, there were 800,000 apps in the app store and only 80 of those apps got 1 million dollars in revenue.  Majority of the apps failed. Everpix and Hailo are examples of apps that failed most.


Everpix was built by Pierre-Olivier Latour and his friend.   Everpix organizes your pictures and stores them online.  Also its sorts the pictures and pulls out the best pictures using an algorithm.  In 2012 Latour and his friend had 55,000 users and solid financing.  In 2013 they were out of money.

Everpix had two problems.  First, the team was focusing on getting it right.  It was a great app.  Everpix was simple, clean design, lots of functionality, and fun features such as Flashback so that people are enticed to use it every day.  Flashback gives the user a photo which was taken that day in the previous year.

They spent a year and half in developing this app.  When it reached the market, Everpix was broken and out of time to raise the capital. Everpix couldn’t get the users it needed to sustain growth in spite of being a great product.

Another problem was Everpix failed to sell this app.  The team wasn’t sales people.  They were developers and designers.  They failed to have the business acumen they needed to sell their application to users or get funding.


Hailo is a mobile app that you use to hail taxi cabs.  Hailo has some features in common with Uber; they both hail taxis.  There is a difference between Uber and Hailo.  Uber recruits drivers with black cars.  Hailo works with yellow cabs.  Hailo comes from London where taxis are a luxury.  With $100 million dollar funds received, it hit the New York City.  It was bailing in North America all together.  Hailo then failed.  Two reasons why Hailo failed are intense competition and flawed business model.

Hailo was ready to take New York by storm when the decision to legalize e-taxi services went in their favor.  A host of other similar taxi services such as Uber and GetTaxi were also ready like Hailo.  The original plan to deal with this was offering an amazing price for yellow taxi cabs and yields the higher-end market to Uber.  Uber began a strong competition which got worse after UberX entered the fray.  Hailo was slowly defeated in the competition by Uber in combination with the small saturation levels among yellow taxi cabs.

Hailo would have saved itself with a little more research in the market.  Hailo comes from London where taxis are a luxury and streets are twisty and confusing.  In London taxicab drivers are really amazing sources of information.  Most London taxicabs drivers carry smartphones which is required for Hailo.

In New York City it is much easier to become a taxi driver than in London.  Cabbies in New York City have far less training, makes less money and often do not carry a smartphone.

Finally, Hailo’s entire premise is that cabbies need help finding fares.  As it turns out, that’s not really the case — yellow cabs in New York City have been ticking along fine.  Therefore, Hailo was not just that needed.  Hailo worked excellent in London but didn’t work in New York City.  We can learn how important it is to adapt from Hailo’s failure.

Mobile App Marketing:

You can learn about app marketing from Everpix’s failure.  You need to market your product to bring it to the consumers.  Here are some of the goals to make a mobile app successful:

  • Making a great experience
  • Creating a product that users want
  • Making money


If you are starting an app company, you need to have the will and set of skills to promote and sell your product.  The best product needs some serious marketing efforts in this highly competitive world including some of these techniques using Google Adwords.  Know what the story of your product or service is.  Also know how to tell the story of your product or service.

Lack of Awareness:

The most common reason for failure of apps is because no one knows it exists.  With over 700,000 apps in the app store, customers won’t find your app unless you tell them about it.  Some of the apps no one knows about are amazing.

Bad Execution:

Sometimes many excellent app ideas are badly executed.  A few of the reasons for bad execution include lots of crashes caused by bugs, bad performance, forced registration of personal data etc.  These issues are usually not fixed even if the feedback from the customer is clear.  A mobile app is rated low because of bad execution. Therefore, the mobile app fails.

Lack of Differentiation:

If your app is competing with other apps, then your app must stand out and be different.  You must consider the advantages of mobile apps vs mobile websites. Consider factors that make a mobile app better than a mobile website.  If there are no advantages then perhaps there is a better alternative.

Lack of Customer Demand:

In many cases no customer wants an app or service in the first place. Many people aren’t using their mobile phones primarily to interact with brands or find out about products (although mCommerce is steadily on the rise), and when they do so, they want to do them through the apps that they already use for other things. Mostly they play games, do online shopping directly from websites and use social networking sites.

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