Editor’s note: From the transition from web to mobile, native apps have played a crucial part in growth and adoption of smartphones. Apps have allowed developers to harness the power of the sensors & processors in the smartphone. Apple has paid developers $10bn and Google a total of $7bn in this growing sector which many are comparing to music industry.With Google’s announcement of manual testing of apps before they get on Google Play, it is important to analyse how apps are building the mobile ecosystems.
The concept of innovation is a very intricate one. Growth in one particular sector can inadvertently cause a growth in another. While we’ve analysed the trends in the smartphone world previously, it is prudent to take a look at the app world as well. The reason is simply because a growth in the mobile market leads to a growth in the app market, which further provides ground for future development in the mobile market. You see the intricacies, don’t you?
At Emberify, while we develop applications, we are constantly in awe of the changing vistas of the app market landscape. So in this article, I throw light on the major app markets out there, with trends on number of apps, revenues and overall growth.
Now the obvious trend that has been observed lately has been the sheer increase in the number of applications. It’s an open secret that Google Play and the Apple App Store account for the most number of applications developed and downloaded. Popularity wise, these two marketplaces have taken the world by storm.
The reason for this is simply the sale of the devices supporting these two platforms. The market share of Android + iOS based devices has been growing rapidly, and here’s a small visualisation of their growth over Q3 and the overall year, for 2013 and 2014.
Another reason for the massive boom in the number of apps has been the support for developers. While Google’s Android platforms comes with a host of developer tools which enable developers to easily develop applications for the Android platform, Apple isn’t far behind, with Swift and all. Appfigures has an interesting graph which depicts the number of developers in three platforms – Android, iOS, and the Amazon AppStore.
ZOOMING IN ON THE SPECIFICS
GOOGLE PLAY STORE
The primary source of all Android applications out there, the Google Play marketplace has established itself as a leader in the battle of the app markets. Over the years, the number of Android applications within the Google Play store has been constantly increasing, and the numbers speak for themselves.
More than the number of applications on the Google Play store, it is also interesting to see the cumulative number of downloads made. While Sundar Pichai had quoted a figure of 236% increase in number of app installs back in Google I/O 2014 regarding the number of app installs, a more concise understanding can be made from the statistics over the years regarding the cumulative number of application downloads made from the store.
Now coming to the nature of the apps – free vs paid. In 2009, 60.8 percent of all Android applications were free of charge, a share which grew by 2014 to 68.8 percent. In November 2013, 98 percent of revenue was generated through free apps with in-app purchases. Only one percent of revenue was generated from paid apps.
The popular categories of apps downloaded are depicted in the following chart. As is evident, games top the charts.
APPLE APP STORE
On the other hand, is the Apple App store. Also an extremely popular marketplace, the Apple App Store allows users to download applications for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. There is a wide plethora of categories included here as well, and here too, games are the most popular category.
The growth in the number of applications in this market has been extraordinary. Coming from just 800 applications in 2008, the marketplace has really jumped up the number ladder as far as the number of applications are concerned. According to the recent statistic on the number of applications, there are over 1.3 million apps out there.
Moreover, the cumulative number of application downloads is also impressive. The recent figures from October 2014 state that the cumulative number of app downloads stands at 85bn, which is pretty cool to say the least.
The other platforms mainly comprise of the Amazon AppStore – which caters to Amazon devices as well as BlackBerry devices, besides Android devices of course; and the Windows phone Marketplace
Regarding the Amazon AppStore, the number of applications isn’t as high as the much bigger Google Play and Apple App marketplaces. However, the number is growing, and that is a welcome sign for vendors such as BlackBerry where this is one of the main sources of procuring applications.
There’s also the Windows Phone marketplace. As far as the smartphone market share is concerned, the numbers are actually decreasing, as is evident from the statistic for Q4 and the entire year, for 2013 and 2014.
However, as far as the number of apps is concerned, it is steadily growing. Hopefully, these growing numbers will pull the Windows phone marketplace out of the somewhat dismal condition that it is presently in.
TALKING ABOUT THE REVENUE
Now here is a truly interesting statistic. I’ve already established that the Google Play Store has more number of applications and more cumulative number of downloads than the Apple App Store. However, an entirely different picture is seen when we compare the revenue shares of the two app markets.
The revenue share statistic is depicted below. Apple has an obvious majority in this regard when compared with the Google Play Store. The primary reason for this is the inclusion of more free applications on the Google Play market, and also the serious issue of piracy which exists when it comes to Android applications.
All in all, revenue numbers are pretty indicative of the true state of these two markets.
An apt summary can be made if one considers the rate of growth of these app stores, as opposed to the number of applications, or the number of downloads. Appfigures has this excellent graph wherein they’ve depicted the growth rates of the three major app stores, and I’d like to just quote them on this.
Besides this is of course the forecast on the number of app downloads projected on the basis of the current trends so far. There is absolutely no doubt, the populace is interested in interacting with more and more applications, and this will definitely result in a massive growth in the number of applications that will be downloaded.
Where there are applications, there will be a market. Where there is a market, there will be devices to support the applications. And where there are devices, more and more developers will look to develop applications in order to reach out to more consumers. It is quite literally a circle of sorts, with each entity being dependant on the other. It will be interesting to see how things turn out to be in the future as far as the app markets are concerned!