With the advent of the Internet in the late 1990s and the cell phone boom in the early 2000s, a new market emerged: that of mobile applications. These are software applications developed for a mobile device, smartphone or tablet. How many are there? How big is the market? Focus.
In 2014, the global market for mobile applications was worth $86 billion, a figure that grew by 27% over the previous year. In 2013, 102 billion mobile applications were downloaded in France, Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain. This number is projected to reach 269 billion in 2017. These figures are staggering, but no less astonishing. With the multiplication of cell phones, demand has increased considerably. In 2014, 145.8 million smartphones were delivered in Western Europe. In France, sales reached 18.2 million units in the same year. This sector (mobile applications) has fostered job creation. According to the barometer of the Institut VisionMobile, it would have created 1 million jobs in Europe in 2014.
A sector that surfs on new consumer trends
While the first smartphone appeared in 1993, Apple revolutionized the mobile sector in 2007 with the creation of the iPhone. It is from this date that the first mobile applications are born. A competitive war ensued from the 2010’s onwards, a period in which other major brands released their own phone models. The second tool that allowed applications to develop at high speed remains the touch tablet. Appearing in 1987, the tablet became truly democratized in the mid-2000s and is now a very popular tool. Worldwide tablet sales rose from 19.4 million in 2010 to 229.6 million four years later. Beyond the multiplication of mobile devices, changing consumer trends have facilitated the growth of applications. Consumers often even own several devices and use them simultaneously.
The market is dominated by three operating systems
Also called OS (Operating System), operating systems are a set of programs that allow applications to be run on computers or mobile devices. The brands Google, Apple and Microsoft share the market. The first has implemented an OS called Android which, in the second quarter of 2014, will reach a market share of 84.6% of the new smartphones sold. In France, it has more than 65% market share. Apple developed the iOS operating system in 2007. The manufacturer wanted to revolutionize the sector because of its ease of use. Its operating system has only 11.9% market share worldwide. Windows Phone, developed by Microsoft, is a real outsider that may eventually compete with the other two brands.
Some apps are cardboard…
When it comes to mobile applications, games are a popular category for users. The Flappy Bird application, which features a bird that the user must guide through obstacles, became the most downloaded application on the App Store in January 2014. Today, its founder has withdrawn it from the market due to pressure from Nintendo, which found the game’s graphics too similar to Mario Bros. The game Paf the Dog has been downloaded more than 30 million times since its launch in 2011. Other types of applications are also experiencing strong growth. This is the case for messaging applications, which have seen a 53% increase in downloads between 2013 and 2014. The Facebook Messenger application is the world’s leading download in 2014. Music applications are also on the rise. The Shazam application, which lets users know the name of a song in just a few seconds of listening, is in sixth place among the most downloaded applications in Europe in 2014.
…While newcomers are struggling to stand out from the crowd
Given the huge number of applications available on download platforms, it is still difficult for creators to make a place for themselves on the various App Stores. So how can they differentiate themselves? The first differentiating factor is the inventiveness of the authors. The ingenious idea of the Dubsmash application, which allows users to mime cult scenes from cartoons, movies or clips, immediately convinced consumers. The popularity of an application on an App Store depends in part on the number of downloads over a given period of time and the positive feedback received from users. The more your application will be known by the general public, the more you will increase your chances of success!
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