Zombies on the App Store

Zombies on the App Store

Zombie apps are not visible in the store as they do not occupy a single ranking in any top list worldwide. This means that users cannot find zombie apps through organic search or by browsing category lists. These apps can only be found by searching for a specific type of app or by finding the app directly by name.

The discoverability issue on the App Store becomes even more serious this year. According to the report from Adjust, there are over 1.4 million apps in the iOS App Store and the latest zombie rate for December 2014 was a whopping 82.8% (74.0% in January 2014).

Statistics from global zombie apps prove that the majority of apps remain discreet. Some categories are especially impacted:


  • The “Business” category is the most affected by zombies at 91% because it’s dominated by a few successful apps worldwide and most apps listed in this category alone stand no chance to rank;
  • Navigation and Sports apps enjoy a much lower zombie rating compared to their size (70% and 76% respectively), as they are often location-specific and thus compete with a much smaller subset of local apps;
  • Half of all Weather apps, the smallest category in the App Store, can be found in the top lists.

For games we can see that the competition across different genres varies vastly, whereas 83% of all apps struggle to find a place among the puzzle games. A music app needs to attract very few users to rank in the top list attaining almost 53% of zombie rates.

App developers making their category decision should take a close look at the data available. Business-oriented apps may fall into other, less competitive genres like Productivity and Finance. Listing your game across Entertainment, Games and Lifestyle, or some combination thereof, is unlikely to provide additional ranking ease. We suggest you take a look at the competition first before flooding an app category with another zombie app!

The task might not be as easy as it seems, so if needed, please ask for advice from our Mobile App Marketing Strategy Consulting Team at ComboApp.