10 years of growth of Mobile App Market

10 years of growth of Mobile App Market

Mobile applications have been a part of smartphones for over a decade. Mobile App Market is the fastest growing segment in the mobile industry. There were a few app developers who were aware of the potential opportunity that app development had in the mobile industry. However, now the scenario has totally changed. With the ever-growing popularity of mobile apps, various OS providers and device vendors have even launched their own application stores.

The growing advent of mobile devices, along with apps is perhaps the biggest technical phenomena in the recent times. Smartphone with featured apps has now become the remote control for our lives and can easily boost our small business.

Evolution of smartphones: Over the last decade

Evolution of smartphones: Over the last decade

Now, It is kind of impossible to imagine our life without smartphones. Many software and hardware companies have worked off over the decade to narrow down all the features in small devices. The wondrous journey of smartphone evolution has been from the old BlackBerry to the current behemoth (iPhone X).

The smartphone makers try to make the phone as small as possible while having the biggest display of that size. From the flat small display to the curved big screens is the long road, mobile phones have came over the last ten years. This trend isn’t stopping soon as this field will always be in the state of innovation.

Growth of Mobile App Market: An overview

The app industry has seen an immense growth in the past ten years and even has no end in sight. Following figures itself says how big is this industry:

  • In the year 2012, mobile app’s financial state was around $53B and it grew up to $63.7B by the year 2016.
  • Various researcher even predict that mobile app economy will touch $188.9B worldwide by the year 2020


In-app ads, purchases, and other monetization models have come up immensely with the app market. According to a Forbes report, a huge rise is seen in the usage of monetization models by the app developers. Last year, In 2017, 49% of the app developers went for in-app advertising (for non-gaming apps) and 79 % chosen in-app purchases of items for gaming apps.


This growth is mainly due to a high potential of mobile applications which is acquired in various steps. Let’s see how mobile apps have managed to grab such a high place in the current economy in a short span of time.

1. Growth of smartphone users:

With the rise of the affordable smartphone, reduced data prices and short replacement cycles, the smartphone industry has seen rapid adoption for the past few years. The following report depicts how smartphone users have grown from 1.57B in 2014 to 2.53B in 2018 and it is expected that this data will cross the mark of 3 billion by the year 2021.


It is obvious that this graph is showing a continuous increment. Everyone nowadays wants to have a smartphone for them. Also, the one which comes up with latest market technologies and trends are being preferred more.

2. Growth of Android and iOS platforms:

Android and iOS are two giant app platforms which build their high place in the past few years. When it comes to the mobile operating system, these two players have got no replacement. In the battle between them, both offer similar kind of features apart from one major difference of being an Open and Closed source.

As per Gartner’s study, in the year 2016, no one can deny that Android and iOS are ruling the business:

  • Android has the biggest market share by being sold 87.8% of total business, whereas iOS also grabbed 11.5% on their side.
  • Rest other platforms showed feeble presence in the market with 1% or 2%.


Also, with constant growth, Android and iOS have removed their competitors in the process. Microsoft’s Windows phone has lately seen a big setback in the year 2014 when their sale rate falls to just 2.5%. It clearly shows the challenge of existence before Microsoft in the mobile app market.

Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store have always been the most popular app stores. Now, they are at a place in mobile app market, that it seems impossible for any other competitor to catch up with them. The major reason behind their success is having a variety of applications and developers. Forbes shared a report illustrating the growth scope of app developers.  At the Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple talked about 1.25 million apps in the App Store and it paid $5 billion to developers last year. The average mobile app developer revenue is shown in the table below:


This data shows that why developers focus on making an app for every simple task, not only it makes our life easy but also provides them with a huge money-making option.

3. Growth in mobile app usage:

Mobile has now overpowered the position of the desktop by making it secondary touch point for the digital users. With the increase in the number of digital users, the mobile apps now grab 65% share of digital media time.

If we categorize the digital time on the basis of usage, these results follows:

If we categorize the digital time on the basis of usage, these results follows

  1. Music – 79%
  2. Health and fitness – 51%
  3. Social networking – 49%
  4. Travel – 28%
  5. Entertainment – 22%
  6. Sports – 16%
  7. Games – 15%
  8. News – 14%

The percentage of mobile apps that were only used once shrunk to 20% in 2015 after improving from 22% in 2014. The percentage of app usage increased by 39% in 2016. Mobile devices entice us to spend a maximum of our time on them and we seem to be doing so. The smartphone is ascendant, and every section of our society is preferring them to keep everything at their fingertips.

The new 2018 Global Digital Suite of reports reveals the following data related to increased internet and smartphone usage:

  • The number of internet users worldwide in 2018 is 4.021 billion, up 7 percent year-on-year.
  • The number of social media users worldwide in 2018 is 3.196 billion, up 13 percent year-on-year.
  • The number of mobile phone users in 2018 is 5.135 billion, up 4 percent year-on-year.



More time spent on mobile applications is directly proportional to their development rate. Such high data of time spent on mobile apps shows that there is no end to mobile app usage in the upcoming years. It will only see the rise.

4. Growth in mobile app downloads:

Worldwide smartphone users downloaded 60% more apps in 2017 as compared in 2015. Simplifying this data means that nearly two apps were downloaded every month per human being on the planet. Lately, in September 2016, India has also seen a rapid growth in app download with unlimited 4G access by Reliance Jio.

Gartner shared a report on how mobile app downloads have increased in the past years and this data is gradually increasing:


This data is of worldwide mobile app downloads and the graph is just getting higher and higher. By the end of this year hopefully, it would cross  the mark of 300 billion.


The current trend and technological advancements have changed a lot from what it used to be a few years back. Mobile apps are developed enough to resolve some major past issues like real-time management. Now, the apps target on better and focused objective. Here, are the few tech trends which hold a major spot in the reasons behind the evolution of the mobile app industry and still got a lot of room of growth:

Current technology trends and their future scope:

1. IoT (Internet Of Things)

Mobile is getting out of pockets and becoming wearable. IoT has taken the networking field used in apps to a whole new level. From creating apps for devices to building apps for watches, gears is what IoT has changed around us. With IoT concept in the mobile apps, the virtual and real world came very close.

eCommerce market is witnessing a steady growth with the easy affordability of internet services and best class apps. The global retail e-commerce sales were 1.86 trillion US dollars in 2016 and are expected to reach 4.48 trillion US dollars by 2021.

2. AR and VR development

AR(Augmented Reality) and VR(Virtual Reality) will soon become the major factors of mobile app development. The latest example regarding this tech is Pokémon Go which proved that it’s time for cross-screen reality interactions. Gartner even predicted that by 2020, millions of users will use Augmented Reality. Apart from just games, soon the marketing and eCommerce apps will also experience a glimpse of this technology.

According to global AR/VR market size, It is expected to reach up to $209.2B by the year 2022. According to TechCrunch, “The mobile AR could become the primary driver of a $108 billion VR/AR market by 2021 with AR taking the lion’s share of $83 billion and VR $25 billion”.


3. Blockchain development

Blockchain technology has flourished themselves in the app market in just a few years. Right from automobiles to artificial industry, pick any of them, blockchain development is found in action. As per an IBM report, blockchain adoption is on the rise in app market.

4. Cloud base app development

Cloud base apps have grown themselves in the market over the past few years. The major advantage they have is they reduce the space occupied by the apps in the phones.

It was found out in 2014 that cloud base apps have gained more traffic than regular apps and this trend seem to be growing further. With higher traffic and reduced space size, these apps are surely a boon for eCommerce market.

5. Accelerated mobile pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is one such technology of Google, which aims at making the user experience better. It has brought a huge change in the way of presenting website content to the mobile users. AMP reduces the load time of web pages. AMP pages even have a high chance of ranking on Google’s SERP.  Being launched in 2016, revolutionized the app industry and aims at doing so in future.

Recently, in a report, it was confirmed that over 25 million website domains have published more than 4 million AMP’s by the year 2017.

AMP integrated apps provide you benefits of staying ahead of your competitors in the eCommerce market. With quick loading, you can sell, advertise, market your products more forcefully than the crowd.

6. Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots:

Smart prediction isn’t a row to how nowadays. With the latest AI and machine learning technologies, you can easily know what is best for your business even now when huge chunks of data is available.

AI start-up funding has been massively increased in the past years. Chat bots have been exploded in the eCommerce market. Following stats strengthen these facts:

  • As per the IDC report, by the next year, 75% of eCommerce merchants will take the help of these smart assistants to increase productivity.
  • Gartner also predicted that by the year 2020, around 85% of customer service interaction will be handled by Chatbots.

7. Location-based apps will hold the gears

The location-based services s expected to hold the gears of the mCommerce industry in the future. Even in the eCommerce industry, the location-based searches are on the rise and is expected to grow even further in the future. Moreover, 69% of Google searches include a specific location. Geo-social services are already attracting the attention of the app users. Thus, in case you are looking to standout in the crowd, then, delving into this aspect is a must.

8. Enhanced Security Constraints

The biometric security options are becoming the next big thing as per the data security aspect is concerned. The prominence of this feature has increased ever since Apple introduced Touch ID feature, the pressure of adding an extra layer of security to prevent data breach has increased. Features like biometric security, fingerprint authentication and others can simply boost the credibility of your app. In fact, this is not just a matter of offering additional features to the customers, but also the basic requirement of the current scenario.

9. Mobile Wallets

Mobile payment services have risen to gain fame and fortune in recent years. Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Alipay, Paytm, PayPal, are some of the examples that speak for their success. In the year 2017, global mobile payments exceeded $700 billion marks and there’s nothing stopping this. It is bound to grow in the future as well. It won’t be wrong to state that the sky is the limit for this particular industry.

The future of Mobile Apps in a nut-shell

With millions of mobile apps listed in at the various app stores, people might say that the industry is saturated. However, if you take a closer look at the stats, you’ll know that there is still a lot of room to grow. The gross revenue of mobile apps worldwide in the year 2015 was 96.7 billion US dollar. This figure showed a skyrocket increment in the following year and reached an amount of 88.3 billion US dollar. If you think that this is the limit, then, watch out for the future predictions. As per Statista, this figure is expected to reach 188.9 billion US dollar.

In Conclusion

Well, the last ten years have shown us the evolution of new technologies in the app industry. In my opinion, making our day-to-day life fast and easy is the major reason of empowering market. A huge amount of tech trends have been arrived in the mobile apps and yet more are to come. Mobile apps have also the reason behind growth in E-Commerce industry. Users can engage through mobile apps, which makes the communication easy and develops a bond of trust and loyalty. Mobile apps are easily accessible and contain all the required info required while product purchase.

For this, you need to create a perfect mobile app which brings your business at user’s fingertips. Apart from app development, publishing your app on the stores is also a great deal. You can find a detailed info of app distribution on Google Play and app distribution on Apple Store.

We at Knowband also offer No Code Mobile App solution for all the major CMS platforms like Prestashop, Opencart, Magento 2 and Woocommerce. Know more:


Often the store regulators even reject your app while approval process. If your application faces any such issue, find the ways to resolve them:

What to do if your Android app gets declined by Google Play Store?

What to do if your iOS app gets rejected by Apple App Store?  

Joe Parker

We boast of the best in the industry plugins for eCommerce systems and has years of experience working with eCommerce websites. We provide best plugins for platforms like - Magento, Prestashop, OpenCart and Shopify . We also provide custom module development and customization services for the website and modules..

6 thoughts on “10 years of growth of Mobile App Market

  1. Well researched write-up!
    Yeah, it’s definitely true that the mobile apps have shown immense advancements in such a short span of time. I found some amazing facts figures while reading the article.

  2. Hi,
    Yeah I agree with your write up as mobile apps are boom for eCommerce industry and helped to grow businesses in a short period of time.
    The stats were amazing in the article and will see them improving in coming years.
    Looking forward for more such articles.

  3. Hi, I read your blog and it is very informative. The shared facts and stats seems quite interesting in the article.
    Now, I am left with this query that is there any other App market which can overpower these two in future?

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for reading the article. Yeah, there are few new app markets like Oppo store, Amazon store etc. But, I don’t think that any new app market has enough capability and user base to overpower these two in the future.

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