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Half a million zombies dominate Apple App Store on 5th birthday

New research suggests that the majority of applications available in the Apple App Store are 'zombies' which receive very few downloads.

The research, carried out Adeven (opens in new tab), a marketing analyst firm, concludes that over two-thirds of the apps in the store are hardly ever downloaded.

"579,001 apps out of a total of 888,856 apps in our database are zombies," the company said. "We can't say exactly how many downloads they have - Apple doesn't reveal this - but it is very small."

Adeven describes a 'zombie' as an app that is not found on any of the top lists that are published by Apple every day. The extensive global charts includes around 300,000 apps.

Apple has said that 90 per cent of all apps in the store are downloaded at least once a month.

Speaking at Apple's recent developers conference (opens in new tab), company CEO Tim Cook said: "Customers love the buying experience and they love your incredible apps. And they have now downloaded 50 billion apps. That's a lot of zeros and a truly staggering number."

However, Adeven believes that the sheer number of apps available in the store - around 900,000 - is leaving many struggling to attract attention.

Paul Muller, Adeven's chief technical officer told CNBC "the game has been professionalized," explaining that developers must now come up with a clear marketing strategy to guarantee their products make Apple's top lists.

Even if an app is downloaded 100 times a day, it is still considered a zombie, as this would not make the developers enough money to make it worth their time and effort, he added.

The Apple App Store is celebrating its fifth birthday this week (opens in new tab). The company says the marketplace currently receives over 800 downloads per second.

Tomas is co-founder of Lucky Pilgrim, a team of journalists, photographers and art directors who connect brands to audiences through words, imagery and design. He was formerly editorial director at Chapel and managing editor at Courier magazine, and was a writer for ITProPortal as well as The Independent, EastLondonLines, The Sunday Times Magazine, and Croon.