Smartphones and tablets. They’re everywhere. And for good reason. They’re brilliant creations. And one of the main things that makes them so brilliantly useful, entertaining and versatile is the app store. There are literally millions of mobile apps out there on the market, which can do anything from monitoring your health to mapping the stars in the night sky.
What a great age that we live in to be able to carry around in our pockets incredible devices with such power and such liberating usefulness. We are, as a generation, all the better for what dedicated app developers have produced and provided for us. Indeed, it seems like the future is already upon us – what more can possibly be achieved with smartphones and apps?
Well, I’d like to think that we haven’t even scratched the surface of mobile smart technology’s capabilities, and there are plenty of marketers out there who’d certainly like to think the same – especially when it comes to revenue and sales figures.
Gartner have recently published some new data that predicts that by 2017 mobile apps will be downloaded in excess of 268 billion times, which will generate a revenue of more than $77 billion, making mobile apps one of the most popular computing tools in the world.
Synecoretech.com have handily put those figures into context for us. If we compare these figures with the approximate world population of 7.1 billion, it means that by 2017 every single person on the planet will have downloaded 37 mobile apps.
An Appy Future
This is great stuff. The mobile app market clearly isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and that means that we have an indefinite wealth of new and innovative apps to look forward to playing with in the future (as well as some decidedly dodgy ones of course, but hey, you can’t win ‘em all).
So – what are the trends of the app market? What categories have dominated the past, and which ones look like they are going to pave the way in the future? These are interesting questions, because already we have seen quite a seismic shift in what has proven popular in the relatively few years that the mobile app market has become a mainstream consideration for consumers and investors alike.
At first it was games that dominated, then it turned to social network apps (a market which is now indeed beginning to fragment), and now it’s utility apps, according to the cofounder and Managing Partner of Nodes when interviewed for the site’s blog.
Why We Like Apps
Apps are of course not the only way that we can access the internet via our smart devices. Some of us like to turn to the good old mobile web browser to retrieve the information that we want. But, it has to be said, that the vast majority of us much prefer the mobile app to the mobile website.
Flurry last year published statistics that indicate how we use our mobile devices, and mobile apps clearly dominate the mobile web in terms of usage.
Why is this? Well, Daniel from Nodes says it’s all to do with the complexity of building responsive websites, and “speed and single purpose”.
“Everything is more complex on a smaller screen and a dedicated app that is tailored for a single purpose will always be able to create a better user experience. And html5 does still not work as smoothly on mobile devices. I think Facebook’s move from html5 based apps to native apps is the best indicator of this.”
With this in mind, it seems that businesses will best utilize their web-based content if they consider shifting some of their resources into building specific-use mobile apps.
The single-purpose app means that consumers will have a better user experience with a brand. When visiting a website that a digital marketer is investing huge amounts of time and effort into producing large amounts of web-based content, mobile browsers can tend to perform a little slowly – not to mention the problems that come with the smaller screen size.
As such, it is safe to say that users are becoming more reliant on mobile apps for their engagement with a brand. Indeed, they are becoming expectant of it, and businesses will do well not to be threatened by this change, but to instead embrace it and adapt to gain competitive advantage.
Smartphone use will no doubt continue to evolve, and app developers like Nodes will pave the way for future revolutions. The impact of things like iBeacon will have a huge effect on location experience for smartphone carriers. So long as we have smartphones, we will have apps that make the most of their capabilities, and I for one am extremely excited about what the future app market holds for us.
What are your predictions for the future of the app market? Have you noticed any rise in popularity of a particular app category? Let us know in the comments below.
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