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Push Notifications Lift Retention Rates

Retention rates among push notification recipients more than double those of nonrecipients

July 28, 2015

This year, 196.2 million US mobile device users ages 14 and older will install at least one app on their devices, eMarketer estimates, representing 81.5% of mobile users. How can apps avoid getting lost in the sea of icons on mobile screens? Push notifications are key.

Average App Retention Rate Over the First 3 Months* Among Mobile App Users Worldwide, Push Notifications Sent vs. Not Sent, Feb-May 2015

According to research by Localytics, monthly app launches among mobile app users worldwide who received push notifications averaged 13.2 in May 2015—26.9% higher than the average of 10.4 for users who didn’t receive them.

Localytics also looked at app retention rates between February 2015 and the end of May 2015 and found a huge gap in averages depending on whether or not downloaders received push notifications. Fully 61% of new app users receiving push notifications launched the app within the first month—more than double the 28% of installers who did not receive push notifications within that timeframe.

The difference in retention rates continued to widen throughout the study period. Three months after installation, 46% of new users who received push notifications launched the app—253.8% higher than the mere 13% not using push notifications.

Average Retention Rates over the First 30, 60 and 90 Days of Use for Mobile Apps Worldwide, Push Notifications Sent vs. Not Sent, Jan-May 2015

Analysis conducted by Kahuna between January 2015 and May 2015 found similar results, with average retention rates slightly lower among both groups. Fully 45.3% of mobile app users worldwide who received push notifications were still using the app 30 days after first using it—122.1% higher than the average retention rate of 20.4% among those who didn’t receive push notifications.

Just as in the Localytics study, the gap continued to widen as time went on. After 90 days of use, retention rates averaged 27.6% among push notification recipients, vs. 10.1% among nonrecipients.

Companies using apps would be wise to encourage downloaders to opt in to push messages if they want to keep them coming back.


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