2014: key trends
In 2014 an important event occurred in the modern world: mobile applications went ahead of desktop applications by the number of users (according to SmartInsights). To date, there are 1.6 billion users of mobile applications worldwide, and their number will only grow.
The main markets are still Google Play and AppStore. While Google Play is ahead of AppStore by the number of downloads worldwide by 60%, AppStore is ahead of Google Play in terms of revenue by 70%.
The main market leader in mobile applications remains triad: Japan, South Korea, USA. Number of downloads of applications in these countries increased by 10%, while revenue increased by 70%.
2014 was also marked by the intensive growth of the new markets in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China). The number of downloads there grew by 40%, and revenue - as much as 130%.
Western Europe, though a bit ahead of the BRIC countries in terms of revenue, have less intense dynamics: downloads increased by 10%, revenue by 50%.
We should also notice another block of countries where mobile applications have not yet gained the high level of downloads, nor revenue, but the growth rates are quite high, and worth monitoring the development of these markets. We are talking about Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam, where downloads increased by 70%, revenue - by 60%.
In 2014, the popularity of instant messengers (application for messaging) continued to grow, the number of application downloads in this category increased by 53%. The key event here is the purchase of WhatsApp Messenger by Facebook for $19 billion. Other platforms (LINE, WeChat) are also gaining momentum, mainly due to the new features: taxi, mobile payments and media data streaming.
High growth rates (31%) are also demonstrated by the applications for transportation and travelling. Taxi is more often prefered to be called from the mobile applications, so the user base of such applications as Uber and Lyft, grows rapidly. We also note the growth of applications in the category of "Hotels and Accommodation": Airbnb, Homeaway VRBO, Couchsurfing, Dwellable.
Men download mobile applications (especially games) more often than women do, but in terms of social networking, photo and video applications, downloads are more often made by women.
Users spend more and more time with their mobile devices, and therefore becomes more and more popular such category of applications as casual games. As casual games, we understand games with simple rules, available for a wide range of users. People play from time to time, to fill the short breaks during the day. We should point out games like Candy Crush Saga (the most popular game by the number of downloads in 2014) and Flappy Bird (it briefly was at the peak of popularity and disappeared from the markets in February 2014, but caused many parodies and contributed to the popularity of games where user control the game only by one touch). However, the key trends of mobile games in 2014 are to be discussed in another article on this blog.
Forecast for 2015
The key milestone have already passed, and mobile applications outrun the desktop ones by number of users. The breakaway is going to grow further: mobile market has good speed which is increasing.
Leaders are remaining the same: both platforms (AppStore, Google Play) and the same countries (Japan, South Korea, USA). However, we should monitor closely for the new platforms (Amazon Appstore) and emerging markets (BRIC countries).
The report is made on basis AppAnnie 2014 Retrospective.