Mobile App Consumption Is At An All Time High But There Are Problems With The App Economy

If the popularity of smartphones is analyzed against the speed with which the device created market opportunity for itself, smartphone emerges out as one of the most viable business ideas ever. Everything related to it saw a boom in its market share, be it hardware or software. The integral and the most important part of a smartphone operation, the mobile app, has broken all records of distribution of a single entity and has reached a whopping 81 billion mark. The app market is bigger than ever and growing. The market has seen many changes too in the last 5-6 years of its wholesome operation as a recognized sector of business.

The existing base of number of mobile apps is one of the important aspects that consumers look for in a mobile phone. Many mobile businesses experienced a sizable setback just because they were a little behind on increasing their mobile app base to the point that it could compete with Google’s Android app market or Apple’s iOS app market.

Some of the notable app distribution stores are however listed below:

  • Google Play
  • Apple app store
  • Windows phone app store
  • Nokia store
  • Blackberry app world

Out of these Google stands as the highest seller followed by Apple.  There are other stores hich independently sell/feature apps that could be downloaded and installed. A report mentions that 89% of the users buy apps from the store that is associated or was pre associated with the device that they bought. As android captures the market there, it also rules the app distribution scenario.

Many measures were taken by the app distribution companies and storefronts which have changed the app market since the first time apple introduced the iPhone or the first Android phone came out. Google recently enabled support for charging on a subscription basis. This is likely to help developers with a steady income.

Apple on the other hand stopped pay per install apps on its app store. Hitherto, app developers used to pay the reviewers or downloaders in cash or in goodies that could be added to some other app, in exchange of downloading a particular app to increase its download count or market presence. This might encourage independent developers and innovators to work on Apple’s module.

App market has registered growth despite some hindrances which cropped up due to the fact that the app market has a tremendous amount of apps. The discovery of such apps by users, relevant to specific use and utility is difficult. Apps see a haphazard scheme of organization when it comes to organizing them. Content discovery is still a big question and major players in the app market should make provisions for effective app discovery. Developers should also be vigilant and prepare (code, design) their apps in such a way that makes app discovery easy.

One thing that app developers (mostly independent and new entrepreneurs) learn the hard way, rather painfully is that the app market sees hundreds of apps everyday. It is rather difficult to make a place for one’s app especially when there are other apps similar to one’s idea, available for free. The cash also comes slow and when one develops apps independently, one is in competition also with app development hubs that develop apps commercially so it’s important to strike a right note between the idea and viability in the market. There are success stories, however, they are rare.

Image Courtesy |  nytimes

One Response to “Mobile App Consumption Is At An All Time High But There Are Problems With The App Economy”

  1. December 19, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    Prakhar,

    Nice post. It’s very true that app developers (such as myself) have a hard time knowing what’s already in the App Store, given its current state of disorganization. You might be interesting in some work that we’ve done recently that adds subcategories to Apple’s categories, which gives a better idea of what’s in the Store. See:
    http://info.ottocat.com/whats-in-the-app-store/

    best,

    edwin

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