If App Annie is right, then mobile apps, which have “tremendous untapped potential” to generate “billions more” dollars in revenues, will become “the most important interface between consumers and businesses.”
In a recent forecast on the “app economy,” App Annie predicted, “Mobile apps have already dwarfed previous computing revolutions and we can look forward to even more growth ahead for the app economy.”
What kinds of apps is she talking about? (To be clear, there’s no real-life Annie, let alone woman, in the C-suite or on the board of the app trends analysis company, just a cute cartoon Annie with pointy glasses and a pencil.) Gaming apps accounted for more than 40 percent of app store downloads and 85 percent of worldwide app market revenue in 2015, and App Annie predicts more than 100 billion annual gaming app downloads by 2020. But there could be even faster growth – from 65.7 billion in 2015 to over 180 billion annual downloads by 2020 – in non-gaming categories that “deliver ever-increasing utility, entertainment, productivity, social connection, and overall value to an expanding base of users,” such as music and video streaming, shopping, and dating apps, the company says.
App Annie forecasts the global mobile app market to reach $51 billion in gross revenue across all app stores in 2016 and to exceed $101 billion by 2020.
But the app economy is about much more than app store revenue. In-app advertising revenue could equal that of app stores, the company predicts. And it also counts revenue from subscriptions such as Netflix that are consumed through mobile apps, e-commerce app transactions, and on-demand and travel commerce apps.
Apps “drive engagement and brand loyalty and can be monetized directly through app stores, advertising, commerce or any combination of the above,” App Annie reports. The company concludes that “all companies need to view themselves as app publishers irrespective of their mobile strategy.”