Reports of the death of apps have been greatly exaggerated

Reports of the death of apps have been greatly exaggerated

One of the problems with technology maturation frameworks like the Gartner hype cycle is that you never know where you stand. That is certainly the case with mobile apps today. Depending on whom you ask, the app economy is either poised for significant growth or about to take a serious nosedive. Let’s consider the arguments on both sides. On one hand, research shows that the demand for apps is at an all-time high. There are several contributing factors, but it boils down to this: more people, carrying more devices, using them more often, for more purposes. People now spend more time on their mobile devices than they do on the desktop web, and the majority of that time on mobile is spent using apps. From a revenue perspective, Apple’s App Store sales are up more than 40 percent over last year. They now exceed $20 billion. If you factor in Android, which has the dominant share of devices, total app store billings are closer to $40 billion. App Annie’s app economy forecast projects the figure to be $100 billion by 2020. These numbers don’t even account for the wider economy being built around apps. For example, the estimated $300 billion in e-commerce sales transacted through mobile apps in 2015. Or the $34 billion in advertising surrounding app content and communities. On the other hand, not all apps are created equal. Nielsen reports that despite the increase in choices and time spent within apps, the number of apps used is holding relatively constant (averaging about 27 per month). In terms of total users, a few companies dominate (e.g. 10 of the top 12 apps are owned by Apple, Facebook or Google). The concentration of time spent around these and other “short-tail” apps is expected to increase moving forward, as more […]