The Worldwide Mobile App Market: Facts & Figures

By | May 26, 2014
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The mobile app-making industry is a highly skewed one – with around 25% of all developers accounting for over half of the revenues from the online stores. Such other fascinating trends and insights from the mobile app sector have been presented in what follows.

In 2008, Mary Meeker, a tech analyst from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, had predicted that the usage of mobile web would overtake that of static internet (i.e., via computers and laptops) by 2014. Going by the tremendous increase in the usage of smartphone applications across the globe, Meeker’s prediction seems well on its way towards being realized, pretty soon. We here present some interesting facts and data from the global mobile app market:

 

  1. Nearly 60 billion total downloads from iTunes – Apple iTunes has witnessed growth at amazing rates, particularly since 2010. The total number of app downloads from the store stands at a shade below 60 billion at present – with more than 800 applications being downloaded every second (on average). Music and gaming apps have emerged as the most popular, with the former registering a growth rate of 66% over the last 3 years.
  2. Free apps rule the roost – This is one of the key reasons why mobile app development companies are increasingly focusing on creating free applications with in-app advertisements. Industry experts have projected that the total number of free app downloads would reach 254 billion by the end of 2016. On the other hand, the total number of downloaded paid apps would be somewhere in the region of 13.5 billion by the same period.
  3. Increase in cross-platform mobile usage – While accessing the web on mobile devices is a trend that has caught on, people are yet to start using smartphones and tablets as the ‘only’ medium to use the internet. As per latest reports, almost 60% users were reported to be utilizing personal computers as well as as mobile handsets to connect to the World Wide Web. The number of ‘mobile-only’ web users has remained fairly static (although significant) during the last few quarters.
  4. Burgeoning popularity of gaming apps – Across countries, gaming apps seem to have caught the fancy of all smartphone-users. In countries like Spain, South Korea and China, the amount earned from the download of mobile gaming applications vary in the 55%-60% range (out of the total revenues of online app stores). In the Apple iTunes store, games make up 18.3% of the total download count, with education and business apps coming in at the second and third positions respectively.
  5. App development is not necessarily a profit-earning profession – Even if we discount the 18% of mobile app developers across the globe who have no wish to earn money through their apps, this observation remains true. According to a VisionMobile report, around ⅔rd of all app developers earn less than $500 per application (which is considered to be the threshold income level in this sector). Around 53%-54% of iOS and Android developers actually lose money (in varying levels). In comparison, HTML5 developers generally earn more.
  6. Mobile app market to touch $25 billion – Over the last couple of years, the mobile app industry has witnessed annual growths in excess of 60%. This, in turn, has pushed up the total value of the sector to above a whopping $25 billion. With a 65% share, iOS applications mint the most money, with Android apps (27% share) coming in at second. Interestingly, it has been projected that tablet apps would become more popular than smartphone apps by 2018.
  7. Mobile apps easily outperform mobile web – Researches have proved that this is virtually a no-contest. In 2013, people spent an average of 29-30 hours per month on using mobile apps. During this period, the time spent on accessing mobile websites was a measly 3 hours and a bit. What’s more – as apps are becoming more popular, the interest in mobile web seems to be receding, albeit at a slow rate.
  8. Rise of in-app purchases – Since only 7% of the apps showcased at the online stores are paid, developers have been forced to think up alternative ways for earning from their products. The dominant trend in this regard has been the proliferation of in-app purchase options. By the end of next year, at least 3 out of every 10 mobile app downloads will offer in-app purchases to buyers. Not surprisingly, the revenue share through this channel has jumped from 10% (in 2011), to a touch above 40% at present.
  9. India has emerged as a major player – No longer can any doubts be expressed regarding the prominence of India in the worldwide mobile application development sector. The country presently has well over three lakh app developers, and the total value of the industry is expected to reach an all-time high of $626 million by 2016. At present, more than 100 million mobile apps are downloaded on a monthly basis in India.
  10. Parents regularly search for mobile app for kids – Not only have kids and teens from around the world caught up by the app juggernaut – parents too seem to have realized that mobile applications are good for their wards. The tendency of looking for age-appropriate apps is more among parents of girls (74%) than those of boys (63%). For those in the 3-7 age group, educational apps for kids are the most popular, while teens in the 12-17 age range prefer music and social networking applications more.
  11. The iOS vs Android debate – If you consider revenue figures, iOS is the clear-cut winner, while from the download share perspective – Android comes up trumps. An overwhelming 75% of total app revenues accrue from Apple iOS applications, while the earning figure from Android apps hover around 20%. However, when it comes to total number of downloads, Android enjoys numero uno position – with significantly more than 50% of market share.
  12. Apps as a tool for mobile marketing – The usage of specific company-branded mobile apps has received a boost in the last year too, with around 26% people presently using such applications. While mobile marketing still remains dependant on search, there is little room for doubt that apps have also started to make their presence felt in this domain. They offer corporate houses a quick, easy and customized way to connect with prospective clients.
  13. More downloads do not automatically imply greater success – A well-promoted mobile application will have handsome initial download figures. That, however, does not necessarily mean that it is a big hit among users. A Localytics study has revealed that, around 1 in every 4 downloaded apps are never used more than once by users (this metric has remained steady over several quarters). Experts on iPhone and Android apps, hence, need to consider factors other than total download figures, to gauge the success (or otherwise ) of an app.
  14. Social networking is far from being the top app category – Given that Facebook is, by far, the most popular mobile app amongst US-users, this comes as something of a surprise. At iTunes, social networking apps make up less than 2% of the total number of downloads – which puts this category well below entertainment, sports, music and business apps. The figure is somewhat similar at Google Play Store and Blackberry App World too.

 

Experts feel that, in the next few years, the big breakthrough would arrive in the domain of mobile retail transactions. The total value of mobile payments has been projected to reach $720 billion by 2017 – a more than three-fold increase over the 2013 figure. Mobile web has not quite gone beyond the usage of static internet yet – but such a scenario is more than plausible within the next two years.

 

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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