Antecedents and Consequences of App Update: An Integrated Research Framework
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E-commerce firms now compete intensively on mobile applications (apps). The transparency of digital environment has made customers and competitors as major external driving forces of app updates. However, app-related studies mainly focus on how to succeed in the hyper-competitive app market and how platform governance influence app evolution, overlooking the interaction among customers, competitors, and focal firm that shapes continuous app updates. Moreover, extant studies on app updates has drawn inconsistent conclusions regarding the impact of update frequency on market performance. We, therefore, proposed an integrated research framework to explore antecedents and consequences of app updates. We empirically test it by tracking customer reviews, updating notes, and ranks of 20 iOS apps within travel category in China for 60 months. The results indicate that the extreme sentiment expressed by customers will urge focal firm to update frequently and the focal firm will incorporate useful customer feedbacks to release a major update. Interestingly, we find that focal firm is reluctant to release superfluous updates and perform major updates if there are more high-ranking competitors update earlier. Our findings also testify the dual role of the number of total apps focal firm owns in facilitating update frequency and volume, as well as constraining days between two subsequent releases. Lastly, frequent updates will induce a higher degree of rank volatility, while long update intervals will decrease ranks. Our study has important implications for firms to succeed in the fierce competition in mobile commerce.
KeywordsMobile commerce Mobile apps Competition App updates Digital business strategy
This research has been supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 71372174 and 71702176 and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) under Grant G1323541816.
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