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2016 Mobile Index Analysis: Engagement by Gender

By Morgan Friberg | November 22, 2016

The Liftoff 2016 Mobile App Engagement Index highlights data for the first half of 2016, with many trends back to 2015, from over 7.3 million app installs and 65 million post-install mobile events. The Index compares differences in app engagement by platform (iOS and Android) and post install events. We slice and dice data across five major app categories: Shopping, Finance, Gaming, Travel, and Utility.

In this post, we focus on app engagement by gender.

The biggest takeaway from comparing males vs females is that females who complete a purchase are much less expensive to acquire. In fact, they cost 40% less to acquire than male users. That’s huge! This indicates that men are much more less inclined to buy items on mobile devices.

Furthermore, a surprise came out of the gaming app category. There’s been an assumption that men are big gamers, however the report shows women had a 13% lower acquisition cost for making in-app purchases.

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Cost-per-action by gender

When looking at install-to-action rates (the percent of people who install an app and complete a key action within it) between the sexes, there are a number of noteworthy differences. Female mobile users are much more likely to register for an app and about twice as likely to use a mobile device to make a reservation than men. Across all five post-install events analyzed, men only performed better in the mobile purchase app category, and with a slim margin.

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Engagement by Category: Shopping

When it comes to mobile, Shopping apps are big business. The Index report on Shopping apps identifies women as the least expensive to acquire and more likely to make a purchase after installation than men. Men simply don’t shop as much on their phones.

mobile engagement funnel - shopping


Engagement by Category: Finance

In 2016, Finance apps (eg. financial protection, investment assistance, credit score monitoring, etc.) paid $6.63 per install, the most of any app category analyzed.

When comparing engagement of men vs women within Finance apps, men are less expensive to acquire and have nearly 3x the install-to-purchase rates. It costs 255% less to purchase engaged male users than females in this category!

mobile engagement funnel - finance


Engagement by Category: Gaming

Gaming apps uncovered a surprise for us in this report. Men were less likely to make in-app purchases and more expensive to acquire than women. This is surprising because it’s long been assumed that men were more interested in games than women, but this report proves otherwise. It should be noted that the types of game apps analyzed heavily influences the data reported on – i.e. casual games, more heavily played by females, is likely the reason for this data point.

mobile engagement funnel - gaming


Engagement by Category: Travel

When analyzing Travel apps (e.g. ride sharing, hotel and flight booking, etc.), men are slightly more engaged than women. 12.9% of men who install a travel app go on to make a reservation compared to 10.3% of women. The CPA cost between genders is minor as well – men come in at $37.64 while women are $39.68.

mobile engagement funnel - travel


Engagement by Category: Utility

Men and women also shared similar engagement with regards to Utility apps (e.g. free calling apps, survey apps, weather apps, etc.). As a broad app category, female users who made a purchase cost $50.89 compared to $54.08 for men. Women squeaked by with a little better performance with an install-to-purchase rate of 5.7% compared to 5.4% for men.

mobile engagement funnel - utility

Download the entire Index to view complete stats on the information above, plus differences in platform engagement and post install events. You will also learn insights across five major app categories.

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