How the App economy is set to evolve in 2018

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Apple App Store and Android Market celebrate 10-year anniversaries

It’s hard to believe that 2018 will mark the 10-year anniversary for both the Apple App Store and Android Market. During the last decade, mobile Apps have had an incredible impact on society and the scale and pace of take up has been exponential.

Here are just a few facts:

  • By the end of October 2017, the iOS App Store had more than 2 million Apps available and Google Play had more than 3.5 million Apps
  • During the month ending October 31, 2017, roughly 50,000 new apps launched on the iOS App Store and over 150,000 were added to Google Play
  • An average of two hours per day are being spent in Apps by users which equates to one month out of every year
  • Apps play a key role in almost every industry today

As we enter the second decade, what lies in store for the App economy? Our thanks go to App Annie, the leading global App market data and insights company, for facts and figures quoted in this article.

1.Worldwide gross App store spend expected to exceed $110 billion in 2018

The evolution of markets across the globe is expected to continue next year and the worldwide consumer spend across all mobile App stores is expected to grow approximately 30% year on year to exceed $110 billion in 2018.

2.China, India and Brazil are top markets to watch

As in past years, China will continue to be a key market for App store consumer spend in 2018. Its’ growth rate is predicted to significantly outpace that for the rest of the world and this is particularly impressive, given that China is the top market for iOS App Store consumer spend.

3.Making it easier to search for Apps will expand opportunities for independent publishers

The number of Apps available is expected to increase at a healthy rate in 2018, which will have the knock on effect of making App discovery more difficult. To alleviate this problem, both Apple and Google have announced updates that will make it easier to search for Apps that are based on a particular topic or specific area of interest. As these enhancements gain traction, it is expected that ‘needs-based’ Apps are more likely to be downloaded.

It is expected that these improvements to App discovery will not only help boost In-App-Purchases revenue overall, but also spread these gains across a broader group of publishers.

4.Augmented Reality (AR) adoption is expected to increase

In 2018, AR will take another significant step forward towards realising its massive potential. This will be driven by the foundation that was set by AR-related initiatives unveiled by Facebook, Google and Apple  at their developer conferences in 2017. These initiatives will accelerate the space by making it easier and faster for publishers to develop AR apps, while also stoking consumer interest.

5.Fragmentation of the video streaming space accelerates

Apps have significantly transformed how people watch video content across a number of dimensions. 2017 has been another extraordinary year for video streaming services as they continue to capture large audiences. It is expected that in 2018 its’ success will attract even more activity, from content owners and distributors, to an already complex landscape.

6.Mobile pushes to become the focus of the retail customer journey

Mobile has become an increasingly integral part of the retail shopper journey. Initially, it was used to research pricing, product information and reviews for in-store shopping, but now it has become a full-fledged channel in its own right. The latest figures show that shoppers are now very engaged with mobile Apps and in the year to date until October 31, 2017, across all Android phone users in the United States and United Kingdom, consumers spent nearly an hour on average in Shopping Apps each month

In  2018 these changes will cause consumers to change their shopping habits, For example, as already seen in China, western markets will increasingly use physical stores as a place to pick up items purchased on mobile and mobile payment will increase in popularity.

7.European open banking legislation triggers value chain shift

While convenience has been a significant driver behind the App economy’s success, there are still concerns about security. In Europe, next year with the implementation of PSD2 legislation, a new level of security that comes from government oversight and legitimacy is set to open the door for more players to provide comprehensive, app-centric, financial-related services,

This will unbundle the banking value chain in Europe, with aggregation Apps increasingly becoming the primary gateway for consumer finance. As the benefits of these changes become apparent. It is expected to drive similar innovation in markets outside of Europe.

8.P2P payment Apps to displace cash and cheques

Person-to-person (P2P) payment Apps have transformed how consumers, particularly millennials, exchange money, by displacing the use of cash and cheques. In the next year, these services are set to broaden their range of services in an effort to expand their revenue potential, fend off increased competition from traditional banks and deepen user engagement.

Technological advances and innovation are being fuelled by the growing expectations users have of Apps.  No longer satisfied with Apps that merely replicate the activities that they can do on other mediums, there is a growing expectation for Apps to completely transform the very nature of how they accomplish goals and tasks, as well as create brand new experiences not possible on other platforms.

App developers will take every opportunity to go above and beyond what’s currently possible and deliver the next generation of future proofed Apps that will reach new heights in the second decade of their incredible journey.

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