1672 views

The announcement has been all over the internet in recent weeks: apparently, the app boom has ended. The source of this story is a study revealed by Business Insider Intelligence, which claims that the number of app downloads has reached its peak. The apps market has – it is suggested – reached maturity and has now started a period of slow decline. Read the article here.

This idea has been reinforced by recent statements from Facebook and Microsoft about chatbots and how they are set to replace apps on our smartphones in the short to medium term.

But not all analysts seem to share this belief. (Read). According to this analysis, mobile apps aren’t dead : they’re evolving.

Should the so-called “app decline” call your mobile strategy into question ? No, because apps will still be around for a long time to come. You only need to remember one figure: 111 billion apps were downloaded worldwide in 2014. This figure is set to climb to 286 billion by 2020. Needless to say, this figure masks a number of disparities. The number of downloads at the global level is driven by the world’s emerging countries. And we are witnessing a slowdown in the number of downloads in digital economy countries seen as “mature”. One particular statistic speaks volumes: just five applications account for 88% of all internet browsing on mobile devices in the US. Each of us has an average of 20 or so apps installed on our smartphones. But we don’t all have the same apps.

The number of downloads is an indicator, but it is not the only statistic that counts. You also have to take a close look at the revenue generated by these apps and the time people spend using them. And you’ll notice two things. The first is that there was a 60% increase in the amount of time people spent using apps on mobile devices between 2014 and 2015.

Revenues generated by Apps are expanding

And the second ? The revenue generated by apps is exponential. For in-app purchases alone, revenue from the Apple Store and Google Play stood at €41 billion in 2015. We are only just beginning to monetize apps. As to what bots might mean for the future of apps… they don’t yet represent any real threat. Bot technology is still in its infancy and it will have to improve a great deal before it starts performing effectively. But there’s every reason to wager, on the other hand, that over the next five years, chatbots will figure prominently in connected objects.

The purpose of these apps should also be put into perspective. We’re witnessing a boom in productivity apps (Read) and more generally, business-oriented apps, as opposed to ones aimed at the general public. For companies, the “mobile first” strategy is still an “apps first” strategy. The challenge is more to do with identifying examples of best practice that will enable them to create high-performance apps more rapidly, effectively meeting their targets’ requirements. You can reread a few tips here.

App development has therefore reached a certain level of maturity, with a resurgence of interest in full-stack platforms. Environments such as Wakanda can accelerate and standardize production, while providing businesses with a great deal of autonomy in the way they design apps.

Your mobile app strategy is more than ever an opportunity for growth for your business (Read).