The App Economy in 4 Charts


Image by César Poyatos via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Welcome to the app economy.

Apple coined the term ‘there’s an app for that.‘ Since Apple opened its app store in July 10, 2008, the number of apps downloaded from the store reached 10 billion downloads in January 2011.

From then on the app makers industry has grown exponentially and no longer exclusive to digital media companies.

Today, app makers could come from any industry that you know of, food, insurance, banking, photography, design, transportation, and more.


#1. Smartphone Subscriptions

There are 3.4 billion smartphone subscription in the world. In 2015, around 45% of all mobile subscription associated with smartphones, compared to  40% in 2014, according to Ericsson Mobility Report. And this number could grow to 6.4 billion by 2021.

Ericsson Mobility Report 1

#2. The Number of Apps on App Stores 

The fact that mobile apps are relatively easier to create than computer apps, as well as their considerable lower price has translated into a growing industry which produces every year more and more.

The number of apps available in leading app stores, as of November 2015, according to data on Statista (subscription, if you want to read details):

  • 1.8 million apps available on Google Play.
  • 1.5 million apps available on iOS (June 2015).
  • Apps from the Apple App Store were downloaded a cumulative 100 billion times (June 2015).
  • 400,000 apps on Amazon Appstore.
  • 340,000 apps on Windows Phone.
  • 130,000 apps on Blackberry.

The Apps World

Source: Statista

#3. Apps Eating Web’s Lunch

We spent 85% of our time on smartphones looking at our apps. Checking our Facebook, email or Twitter, it’s like an addiction (and I’m guilty of that). The apps that we check regularly include, Facebook (13%), followed by Google (12%).

As a category, social networks claim 14 percent of all smartphone usage – or more than 25 minutes per day. Facebook is the leader here, with 1.25 billion mobile monthly active users.

Not only that. This is how consumers spend most of their time.


Smartphones also is now the most popular device to browse Internet.

 It was not just smartphones which reported increased use for online access, as tablets rose to 19% in 2015, up from 15% in 2014 and 8% in 2013. Both laptops and desktop computers declined, with desktops now accounting for just 14% of internet use.

#4. The Size of App Economy (forecast)

The app economy is a growing market. According to a report from App Annie, the app economy could double to $101 billion by 2020. The app market is global and is beyond smartphones to include apps for other devices, i.e. VR, wearables, cars, and smart home devices.

Overall downloads in app stores are expected to grow 33 percent to 147.3 billion in 2016 and reach 284.3 billion in 2020. Global app store downloads will likely grow from 111.2 billion in 2015 to 284.3 billion in 2020..




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