Yankee Group estimates that nearly 7 billion U.S. smartphone app downloads will garner $4.2 billion in revenue by 2013. And with the number of smartphone users set to quadruple to 160 million at the same time, Yankee Group uses just two words to describe the market to come: gold rush.
How can developers and app store owners position themselves to profit from the impending bonanza? Two Yankee Group reports, “Forecasting the U.S. Mobile App Gold Rush” and “Which Mobile App Platform Deserves Your Software?” offer key insights:
* Fit the app to the platform. While Nokia, Apple, Windows Mobile and RIM each have an installed base of more than 25 million devices, not all platforms are created equal. For now, consumer developers should focus on RIM’s Blackberry, where consumer-oriented apps are scarce, while those aiming at enterprises should target Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android to address those relatively untapped markets.
* Price your apps appropriately. Paid apps will account for one in four downloads in 2013. And while 99-cent apps are the norm now, Yankee Group predicts that paid apps will cost $2.37 on average by 2013, increasing today’s $343 million download market by more than 10 times over those five years.
* Focus on marketing. App store owners need to attract developers by marketing their apps and promoting the store’s successes via top 25 lists, download counters and running revenue tallies.
“Apps have been around for years,” said Carl Howe, director at Yankee Group and author of the reports. “But app stores have created mass-market products with million-dollar revenue streams attached. Every mobile software developer could be the next Bill Gates for smartphones, but only if they bet on the platforms with the right reach and fit for their application.”