State of the Apps – Part 1: Some Surprising Stats about Apps and What they Mean to You

If you are a mobile app developer or someone who is thinking about iOS or Android app development, we have some great stats for you that we feel are essential for you to be aware of. At Smarter Apps, we are always scouring the Internet for information that is relevant to app creation because we know that information can be the difference between an app making it or not making it.

Recently, an international firm that specialises in research relevant to apps released a report called “Global Mobile Statistics 2013.” The report gathered and cited research from seven independent firms. We weren’t really surprised by any of the results because we keep an eye on the market–and we see it as moving in some fairly predictable directions.

We are going to give you the stats first and then we will analyse them and reveal what they mean to you.

Apps are reaching more people than ever before.

According to a survey by Portio Research in March 2013, the total global amount of app users at the end of 2012 is 1.2 billion. The number of app users is projected to grow by 29.8% on a yearly basis, which will produce 4.4 billion app users by December of 2017. Over half of these app users will be in Asia.

Since there are approximately 6.8 billion mobile accounts globally, this means that roughly 17% of cell phone users currently use apps.

Why people use apps–and why they don’t.

While apps are popular, more users connect to the Internet by using SMS rather than apps. In Australia, for example, 94% of smartphone users use SMS once a month and 60% browse the web; 55% use phones for email, 58% for social networking–and 59% use apps.

App users stay connected longer for uses like Amazon, eBay, Google, Yahoo and Facebook; but users of ESPN, Microsoft and Wikimedia report the opposite. Currently, users are twice as likely to buy retail products on the web as they are to use mobile apps.

There are a lot of apps out there.

Currently, both Google Play for Android apps estimates over 800,000 while the Apple App Store estimates over 850,000 apps in their store. Counting lesser stores, there may be as much as a million more apps on the market.

How many apps are downloaded each year?

For 2013, the 56 billion apps are expected to be downloaded for smartphones– 58% for Android, 33% for iOS, and 7% combined for Microsoft Windows Phone and Blackberry. Meanwhile, 14 billion tablet apps are expected to be downloaded this year. A whopping 75% will be iOS due to Apple’s dominance in the tablet market. Android is expected to capture 21% of the market while Windows is expected to only account for 2%.

Revenue: How much and who gets it.

Globally, according to ABI Research, apps are expected to produce over $25 billion for this year. Smartphone apps are projected to account for $16.4 billion while tablet apps are expected to generate $8.8 billion. Apple will account for 65% of app revenue while Android will account for 27%. ABI also feels that by 2018, apps will be pulling in $92 billion and that more will come from tablets than from smartphones.

There are no global numbers but there are some interesting US stats concerning which app developers are making money. According to research by Canalys, 25 app developers pull in 50% of app revenues–24 of the 25 developers are game developers; 145 of the top 300 paid iOS apps are games while 116 of the top 300 Google Play Android apps are games.

What this means to you.

There are few patterns we can see here. First of all, more people buy Android apps. This makes Android apps a safe investment. People are mathematically more likely to download an app on an Android device than they are on Apple. Inexpensive or free Android apps are a good investment for one who can’t afford to take risks.

On the other hand, individual Apple users spend more money on apps and still more on in-app purchases. This makes higher-end apps a better investment on Apple.

The biggest thing to take from these stats: People like games. Games are the gold standard of both Apple iOS and Google Android apps.

In part two of this series, we will get more into a strategy for games and how to take advantage of some of the trends mentioned here.

If you are ready to develop an app, we will be happy to build it for you. Call 1300 650 253; it is easier than you think.

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