The uncontainable expansion of mobile apps


Virtually every segment of our lives is monitored by an app.

We use them to track our diet and exercise routines, meditate and unwind, run our business or just have fun. Since their conception, these apps have come a long way. From a so-called hand extension, they have turned into a full-grown limb we cannot live without.


The big apps seem to be getting bigger according to analytics company SensorTower. The top 200 apps generated $13 billion in revenue via in-app purchases alone during the first quarter of 2019. That’s £10.29 billion, and means that they’ll get $50 billion (£39.59 billion) in total this year.

The Apple App Store looks to be leading the charge, with 64% more earned on iOS than Android. iPhone developer saw a 12% average year-over-year increase in revenue during this first quarter too, so the numbers are all going up and – for those big developers – it’s time to celebrate.

Well, perhaps not. Growth does seem to be slowing, with revenue growth in the top 100 growing at just 12.1% over the last year. While there’s a spend disparity between iOS and Android apps, it’s most noticeable in non-gaming apps.

However, for gaming and for the established mobile gaming operators, things fare better in terms of revenue. The top gaming apps on iOS earned an average of just over $70 (£55.05) million compared to top gaming apps on Android at $48 (£37.75) million.

Nothing’s ever Just Black or White

However, SensorTower is only counting revenue from in-app purchases, so developers are probably earning a great deal more than that that $13 billion is only a slice of the revenue that top apps are making.

Adverts and up-front payments boost their earning whilst other companies such as Amazon, AutoTrader, eBay and Asda, make money on sales made to their stores with digital and real products delivered separately.

According to the company, apps like Love Island, WhatsApp, Gentle Sniper and Train Taxi sit in the Top 10 off the Apple App Store whilst, on Android, there’s also Spotify, Lime Player, Facebook Messenger and Jetpack Jump.

All of these are free to download but you’ll find either adverts or in-app purchase. The “Top Grossing” apps include Coin Master, Candy Crush Saga, Tinder, Pokemon Go, Clash of Clans, Netflix and Amazon Music.

In terms of paid-for apps, which you actually have to bite the bullet and buy before downloading, there are a couple of Driving Test apps which seem to be performing particularly well at the moment.

The impact of the apps discussed above is none to dispute. The statistics have said it all. Time has undoubtedly done wonders for some apps. Others might have suffered due to a number of grounds. What is left to do is follow their further progress and closely supervise their evolution.

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