Mobile apps have been around for some time and there is a lot of hype around the developing market. But how sustainable is this development, and where does it lead? In summary, our analysis shows that apps will eventually be as important for companies as web pages are today.
The main drivers:
What are the reasons for this optimistic view? Here are just six reasons why we think that apps will become as important as Websites to companies in the next years:
1. Ubiquity of smartphones: Smartphones will increasingly replace feature phones in stores. Nearly everyone will be able to use smartphone apps, not just – as of now – business people, social networkers and gamers. The main driver will be a reduction in handset prices, which will decrease to 100 Euro for most starter devices.
2. Manifoldness of possibilities: Smartphones are small computers which are becoming more and more powerful. They will be suitable for an increasing number of tasks which have previously been restricted to laptops or desktops. Today smartphone apps are used by companies to promote their brand or product, or to provide access to their existing products. In the future we will see a lot more use-cases, e.g. new products enabled by apps, mobile health, mobile selling, or apps which help to improve working efficiency within a company.
3. Ubiquity of app stores: For the foreseeable future, Smartphones will always depend on the app stores. If you have a smartphone or advanced feature phone you will have easy and convenient access to the world of apps.
4. Unmatched user-experience: Apps offer a user-experience which mobile Websites or widgets are unable to provide.
5. Proximity to customers: Mobile devices, especially Smartphones, are much more personal and intimate devices than a laptop or desktop device. For most users their phones are never further than 1 meter away 24/7. Imagine how attractive it is for consumer goods, food, and myriad other companies across the economy to be able to place their products and services so close to consumers.
6. Better visibility: Although there is a lot of clamor about the discoverability of apps, especially in the Apple App Store, standing out among 140,000 apps is much easier than being found amongst millions of websites. In addition, these distribution platforms are stores, and unlike the web or its search engines, they are designed to sell and present products. Cross-selling and promotions are components of their core features. The new geneneration of app stores make it easier than ever before to be in the forefront of millions of potential customers’ minds.
Although there is still a long way to go before many companies learn how to benefit from and how to engage in this exciting new market, but it won’t take long before it becomes standard business practice, especially for media, consumer goods, automotive, and food companies to communicate with their customers via an app. This applies especially to the Western and Asian countries with high smartphone shipment rates but will also impact emerging markets with a short time-delay.
See our “Global Smartphone Application Market Report 2010” for a detailed analysis of the world-wide app market.