The past year saw an unprecedented explosion of the mobile app market. The disruption in all industries, caused by mobile apps, is already being described as a ‘mobile app revolution’, comparable in its impact to the Industrial Revolution. Flurry’s CEO, Simon Khalaf, made this comparison two weeks ago, pointing out the rise of messaging apps as a sign of strong momentum in the space.
The total number of apps downloaded in 2013 is estimated to reach 103 billion apps, up 59% from 2012. Better access to communication, information and services will become available to anyone who has access to a smartphone or a tablet. Devices may vary in capabilities, but they all serve to include more participants in the global economy.
Is the Mobile App Revolution Just Starting?
Numerous technology experts and entrepreneurs agree that the most recent changes are just the beginning. Joe Schoendorf, partner at Accel Partners, predicted further rapid growth, pointing to the fact that personal cell towers will be available on the US market within the year, costing less than $100.
Michael Björn, Head of Research at ConsumerLab, predicts that throughout 2014, “The most important trend we see is the mass demand for apps and services across all industries and societal sectors – which has the potential to fundamentally change everyday life.”
Signs of App Fatigue?
Not everyone is buying the hype, though. Deloitte’s 2013 Global Mobile Consumer survey found that the number of app downloads and per app spending decreased 13 percent from 2012 to 2013. Signs of app fatigue are coming from the consumer perspective as well. As Bill Frezza, a political contributor at Forbes, observed, the Cambrian explosion of mobile apps, the most advanced digital life form, already exhibits signs of hitting a plateau. Even though mobile users in developed markets are consuming and producing more content than ever, the process itself has not been made easier.” Frezza’s verdict? “I’m done downloading new apps… The incremental benefits are too small.”
The Key to Staying Afloat
Flurry’s forecast that the mobile app revolution will continue its triumphant march is certainly encouraging. It may even be objective! However, considering all of the warnings, the mobile user experience is likely to become an increasingly important factor. Only outstandingly useful, engaging, and smoothly functioning mobile apps will survive the inescapable plateauing of the mobile app market. The key to staying afloat? Testing, testing, and testing!
Will the mobile app revolution turn into app fatigue in the observable time? Perhaps, a few hundred billions app downloads later, we will find out!