When was the last time you opened an app on your phone? Probably not too long ago. In fact, 90% of the time spent on your phone is spent on apps. They demand far more time than your standard calling and texting. There are apps for all sorts of things: gaming, music, fitness, reading, language learning, and dating, just to name a few. These days, nearly every fast food chain and sports team has its own app.
To further put the app industry into perspective, consider this: There are 3.5 billion smartphone users across the world, and Americans check their phone once every 12 minutes. That is 80 times per day. Certainly, we don’t check our phones just to text. Apps demand our attention, too. They operate on smartphones after all, which lie within reach of our pockets, constantly demanding our attention.
Because smartphone apps can satisfy most users’ internet needs, a growing share of Americans use smartphones as their primary means of online access at home. There is huge potential in the mobile app development market as more people rely on their mobile devices day in and day out. Read on for a detailed overview of the mobile app market and its future.
Mobile app development is simply the process of creating apps. As with any software development, mobile apps require extensive coding. But coding is not all. The steps to mobile app development include formulating the idea, crafting the design, programming, testing, launching, and of course, marketing. Only after completing these phases does a new app have the potential to succeed.
There are different types of apps. Apps made for a particular device and its processor are called native apps. Native apps are installed directly onto the device and do not necessarily require internet access. Apps that work in your browser are called mobile web apps. They don’t need to be installed onto the device. They are device-agnostic, meaning they work across multiple different devices, so long as the device has a web browser with internet access. Finally, hybrid apps are apps that combine features of both native apps and web apps. They are installed like a native app, but they display web content like web apps. Essentially, they are web apps in a native app shell. Once installed, hybrid apps rely on the internet to function and have a browser embedded within the app.
Many apps are developed to work across multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and even wearables (e.g. smartwatches). Whatever the device, mobile apps must take advantage of the device’s unique features, which vary. For example, a large tablet may not be suitable for an app that tracks your pace because it’s too large to carry while running. Instead, a smartwatch will do the job best. Of course, the most popular app platform is the smartphone. Smartphones are so dynamic that many people use them as their all-in-one device.
Not only are apps made for different hardware but they are developed for different mobile operating systems. The most popular two operating systems (OS) for mobile devices are Android and iOS. Each has their own app store with a huge selection of free and paid apps. The Android OS is open-source and uses programming languages Eclipse and Java, while iOS is closed-source and uses programming languages Xcode, Objective-C, and Swift.
Most mobile app developers use the help of software development kits (SDKs). SDKs are a collection of software development tools that facilitate app development. They can simplify the work and save a lot of time. Google’s SDK for creating apps is called Flutter, and Apple simply calls theirs iOS SDK.
In addition, there are low-code and no-code apps designed specifically for developing mobile apps. Some low-code and no-code apps include Appery.io, Mobile Roadie, GoodBarber, Appy Pie, and AppMachine. Unless you want to start from scratch, consider exploring different SDKs and low-code and no-code tools for your mobile app developing needs.
The market for mobile app development is growing fast. In 2018, it was estimated at $106.27 Billion. And in a study of the years 2019-2026, researchers found that it is growing at a CAGR of 18.4% to reach $407.31 Billion by 2026. That is about four times the size of the market for laptops.
Consider the revenues from mobile apps, too. In 2020, the revenues were 581.9 billion USD, and they are projected to reach nearly a trillion USD by 2023.
With an increasing reliance on smartphones, the mobile app market is going to keep growing for the foreseeable future. Even if humans replace their smartphones with smart watches, mobile app development will still be required. So now is the time to invest in mobile apps.
The mobile app development market is first shaped by app stores. Google Play is the largest app store with 2.87 million apps for phones with Android OS. Apple’s App Store comes in second, offering 1.96 million apps. Finally, Windows has its own app store with 669,000 apps, and Amazon has its own with 455,000 apps.
Developing a mobile app costs money. To start, it can cost $5,000 to $15,000. From there, you still have ongoing maintenance and marketing costs. All in all, the total cost of developing an app depends heavily on the app’s complexity: A basic app costs roughly $25,000. A medium complexity app costs between $40,000 and $70,000. And a complex app costs over $70,000.
But apps make money in return. In fact, there are several ways to monetize apps. Consider the following monetization models:
To integrate ads into your app, you must choose an ad network like Google’s AdMob. They connect you, the publisher, with advertisers and offer different ad pricing models. The most popular ad pricing models include the following:
Advertising is one of the most popular ways to monetize apps because it allows you to offer the app for free. In this model, app users become the product, while advertisers become the payers. If you can manage to place ads strategically, your app can generate a limitless amount of money.
Businesses large and small are investing in the development of mobile apps because companies recognize their value. Below you will find some of the current trends within the mobile app development market:
Mobile apps will improve your business. Not only do they open your business up to innovation but they increase brand recognition and customer loyalty.
Apps are faster than websites. Websites rely on constant internet connection, while apps can be installed directly onto the phone. Even if the app requires some internet connection, it will run faster and more smoothly than a website will. By optimizing the user experience and creating a constant reminder for engagement, mobile apps retain clients at a higher rate.
Mobile apps convert visitors into customers and increase sales. As discussed, people simply spend more time on their smartphones these days. Customers spend 3 to 4 times as much time on mobile apps as they do on desktops. The chances of winning over customers are simply higher on apps.
Mobile apps have sleek designs and interfaces. They have features that integrate with your smartphone’s microphone and GPS. These features include voice recognition or navigation. App users are more easily advertised to and encouraged to promote branded content. Ultimately, apps can provide an attractive platform to draw in more customers.
Most any brand has an app. If you don’t believe me, simply type a brand into the search bar of your smartphone’s app store. See if there isn’t an app for your favorite fast food chain, newspaper, or sports team. There probably is. All the more reason to invest in mobile app development. You don’t want to fall behind the curve by not having one.
That said, developing a successful app is no simple task. It takes creative design, a friendly interface, multi-platform functionality, data security, and ongoing support. If you have a project in mind, Dev.co can help. Learn more about what we have to offer here.
Ryan is the VP of Operations for DEV.co. He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations–delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.