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Mobile App Development by the Numbers

Mobile apps are crucial for any business. As more and more people reach for their mobiles over their desktops, it’s important that businesses adapt to the modern approach and create an app that not only looks good and works well but also hits a niche in a market full of hundreds of thousands of creations.

According to Pranjal Bora, recently reported that fewer than 0.01% of apps were considered a financial success in 2018, meaning businesses really need to work in order to create something that makes and retains money.

Out of every 10,000 mobile apps created, only 1 is likely to do well in the market. This is largely down to expense, as the better apps often cost $270,000 to design, build and launch.

So before you jump into a mobile app launch, it’s important that you are aware of a few statistics surrounding mobile app developments.

A quarter of all apps are games

Out of the entire Apple App Store, 25% of apps are created for gaming. The second category is business, but this falls way behind. Gaming falls 2.5% higher than business, and business falls a full four times higher than entertainment, which is fifth on the list. The category with the least amount of apps on the Apple Store is shopping, coming in at just 1.46%.

However, only 65% of smartphone users actually have gaming apps downloaded on their phones.

Social media and music are popular

Mobile users spend 38% of their app time using social networks and music apps. People spend up to 20% of their time browsing sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and another 18% listening to apps such as Spotify and Apple Music. 

Despite coming in at the highest percentage of all apps created, smartphone users only spend around 10% of their time on gaming apps.

Map apps were down at the bottom, used only 3% of the time.

98% of worldwide app revenue comes from free apps

More than 90% of apps on the market are currently free. A big misconception is that free apps are much less profitable than those that are paid for, however, this couldn’t be more wrong. Free apps mostly tend to use advertising to monetize their creations, with pay-per-download and subscriptions following closely behind. 

Advertising is one of the easiest, generated through a third party ad network. The app owner is paid every time an ad is displayed on a device, per click on the ad, and even when a user installs the app advertised.

Selling merchandise is also pretty popular. Amazon uses a service called Merch which allows publishers to create their artwork, upload it to their platform and promote their products.

Retention rate is low

71% of app users churn within the first 90 days of downloading, and 21% of users will only use an app once before deleting it. Many simply get bored, whereas others will struggle to find a need to use the app or find an alternative. That’s why finding a niche in the market is so very important.

It’s also important for this reason for businesses to continue coming up with new reasons for people to download their products.

Apps with a lot of bugs and glitches are unlikely to get people to stay, so it’s important to continuously introduce new updates to show you’re always trying to improve user experience. 

Ride-sharing apps are booming

The market revenue for global ride-sharing reached $45m by 2017. However, it didn’t simply stop there – the market raised to $59,678m by 2018 and is set to reach $697.1m by 2022. Ride-sharing services are highly lucrative and extremely competitive, with companies constantly expanding their services to include options such as fast food delivery, package delivery and even financial services, such as Uber and Grab payment processes. Entertainment is the second largest category which has the largest market share growth of global consumer spend on Google Play followed closely by health and fitness, which is growing 9% year on year.

Social media apps are the most popular

Sites such as Facebook are considered the most popular across the world. Facebook takes first place in the top five, followed by Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Instagram comes in at fifth place. Facebook’s global reach gives it an automatic worldwide advantage, however, WeChat coming in at fourth place has the advantage that Facebook is banned in China. This isn’t surprising, seen as 50% of global app downloads are accounted for in China.

China’s market is very unique as it is closed off to many international apps. Five of the world’s top ten apps are tailored to the Chinese market. There’s the Chinese Twitter competitor QQ, mobile payment competitor Alipay, and search engine competitor Baidu just to name a few.

App defects are often found by the user first

That typical saying of playing with something until it breaks is really worth paying attention to when it comes to app development. 44% of in-app defects are found by app users, which not only doesn’t look good on the developer, but is also a big reason for low retention rates. 47% of apps are thought to need more time for testing that they simply don’t get, largely down to a time war against a competitor. Having said this, it’s probably better to have a high-quality app out there a little later, rather than a glitchy app that is rushed and launched quickly.

Sometimes, taking a little more time on app development is very beneficial in the real world. For example, healthcare app Heal X, which sits pride of place in Healthcare Weekly’s 31 Best Healthcare Startups, reduced drug development time by 80% to make a drug for FragileX ready for clinical testing 80% faster.

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