A popular website for the parents of young children, KinderTown, culled data from 121,015 searches in their App of the same name from June 20 to July 10 of this year. These findings could not only be valuable to developers, but change the face of app development by telling developers which apps will have the greatest chances at success.
The most important criterion in the searches was age. 50.2% of all searches included a specific age criteria. The study concluded that parents perceive target age as the best indicator of whether or not an app will be appropriate for their children. The ages from 3 to 8 are the most popular, going right up the line with 3 as the most popular, 4 as the next most popular, up to 8.
The second most important criterion was price. 40.6% of the searches mentioned price, but only 3.1% of the searches contained the word “paid.” The study concluded that, as in most contemporary markets, most customers are seeking the highest value for the lowest price, and most of them prefer “free.”
The third most important criterion was the platform. 31.8% of the searches mentioned a platform. Breaking down the numbers, 22.1% mentioned iPad, 6.3% mentioned iPhone, and 3% mentioned universal. The study noted that approximately 70% of the searches were made from an iPad.
The study concluded that iPad users don’t mind using iPhone apps on their iPads. It also concluded that marketing an app as “universal” has a negligible effect, if any, on increasing the market.
The fourth most important criterion was the type of app. 30.2% of the searches mentioned subject. Within those, 17.4% mentioned a category, and 6.4% mentioned a concept. The most popular subject was language, at 35%, followed closely by math at 34.2%. Art came in at 14.4%, while social studies had 9%, and science came in at 8%.
You are welcome to look at the KinderTown study yourself if you want to drill further down into the numbers. Even though the study gave a disclaimer where it specifically discouraged developers from thinking that they should create apps for the most popular categories without doing more market research, we still see the study as a road map of how people, specifically parents, shop for apps.
So, how do we recommend using this “road map?” First, we recommend going to Apple’s App Store and sites like KinderTown, and doing some of the more popular searches that the users did. If you are going to compete in any market, you have to know it extremely well. Also, the searches will give you an idea of what is selling, and how much competition there is in any subset of the market. Next, it might be helpful to go to Google and do some related searches.
After you have done this, you will hopefully have an idea of the age and category that would be right for your app. Your next step would be to find parenting or “mom” forums. Many people use forums for marketing to a point of oversaturation, but forums are still a great way to find out what people are talking about.
It’s no accident that human beings are born with two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth. We often forget that, and many people seem to have the ratio reversed, but the importance of watching and listening cannot be overstated. The best way to succeed in the burgeoning apps market, as in any market, is to find a need and fulfil it.
It is human nature to complain, and many people avoid listening to those who do. However, we see complaints as a golden opportunity to create a product. If a lot of people are complaining about something, that complaint is a need. If there is no product that addresses that need, the complaint is a potential product, staring you in the face, saying, “What are you waiting for?”
Once you have an idea of the need you would like to address, you are at least halfway there. If you’re not one of those lucky people who can instantly create thorough natural thought process, you will want to use any of many “brainstorming” methods.
The quickest and easiest method is to simply open a word doc and “dump” without judgment. The time for editing and self-editing is later, but during the brainstorming period, all you want to do is write every idea that comes into your head. The reason we never discount an idea during brainstorming is because sometimes a “dumb” idea can be the stair step that leads to a million-dollar product.
And that, of course, is where we come in.