The $6 Trillion App Economy

Eye-watering market forecasts reveal app growth opportunities

The mobile app market is a monstrous place where app downloads are pegged to hit a massive 269 billion by the end of this year. It’s also a market that is maturing and exploding with opportunities for app companies that cast a wide net and maintain a clear vision of how they want to grow their app footprint and fortunes.

A string of recent market reports and forecasts highlight factors and trends that calculate a global economy that will be worth a whopping $6.3 trillion by 2021. To put that in perspective, it represents an economy which, if it were a nation state, would be the third largest on the planet. In context, that means users and developers will deliver growth equivalent in size to the economy of Japan, thus creating enormous opportunity for companies and entire industries around the world. But the real news isn’t just the eye-watering growth just over the horizon. It’s the shift taking place right now.

Strength in numbers as alternative apps stores exceed all expectations

The Apple App Store will remain the most lucrative app store through 2021 – generating $60 billion thanks to an affluent demographic that buys into apps, subscriptions and app purchases en masse. But it’s the Google Play Store and third-party Android app stores that will be the ones to watch, as they are are making amazing gains that will have a massive impact on the global app market starting in 2017. Specifically, the combination of Google Play and third-party Android stores is forecast to exceed iOS in 2017 for the first time.

Android driving alternative app store new world order

We’re not talking about a ripple of change, here. It’s tidal wave, with activity across the landscape of alternative app stores taking on a new scale and momentum. Downloads this year for Google Play and third-party Android stores are set to reach 114 billion and 70 billion respectively. More importantly, revenues will reach $21 billion for Google Play, with alternative apps stores a close second at $20 billion. In fact, both are forecast to see downloads grow at the same rate (an annualised rate of roughly 23%) to hit 3 billion thanks to a significant increase in smartphone and app adoption in emerging markets – particularly India, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia. Read more about the lengths Google is going to capitalise on recent Indian internet consumer growth.

With growth comes growing pains

In any rapidly scaling market, there is always a risk to the status quo. The app sector grows at a rapid rate and remains largely unregulated, so the need to monitor and protect brand integrity will become ever more critical. Popular apps are copied, brands are pirated and ideas are plagiarised. It is therefore essential to ensure strict monitoring of app brand identity, names and formats for fraudulence.

Time to think big

Clearly, the app market is one that continues to grow, presenting exciting opportunities for app publishers, developers and brands. Being focused on a single app operating system, device or app store is no longer a safe or commercially viable option - owners need a scalable app strategy that can tap into the entire potential market.


Marketing Director at appScatter