App Data and Analytics firm App Annie has released its 2015 Retrospective Report which highlights the biggest trends of the year that was and further explores the love/hate relationship that is iOS Vs. Android. Other trends confirm the growth of China as a big mobile and app market and that Taxi Apps and dating apps are on the up.
We look at little deeper into the report and wonder what 2016 could possibly have in store for apps and mobile.
Downloads – It’s all about Facebook
If there was any doubt about who was the undisputed king of the mobile app then there shouldn’t be any more. Facebook eclipsed its rivals (and other non-social apps for that matter) by miles. In fact, Facebook owned Instagram and WhatsApp also feature highly on the download list. When you consider that Instagram is the fastest growing Social Network and WhatsApp has recently announced that it is to start sharing data with Facebook you can see that the (almost) original social App is not only here to stay but is determined to grow its reach and recognition.
With the top four slots in terms of mobile app downloads owned by Facebook (Facebook Messenger was also heavily downloaded as a separate app in addition to Facebook itself) it is hard to see any other company challenging it in 2016. While things do move thick and fast in the mobile world it is difficult to see anyone challenging Facebook’s crown in the foreseeable future. In fact, as Facebook increases its pattern of acquiring new and upcoming companies in the field and related fields such as augmented reality the short and mid-term future of apps at least remain safely in the California-based company’s hands.
App Store or Google Play
More difficult to ascertain is whether Google and the Play Store or Apple and the App Store should take the crown of the best option for apps. While Google’s platform storms ahead in terms of physical downloads (thanked largely by an increase in downloads from developing markets such as Brazil, Turkey, India and Indonesia) it was Apple that came out on top in terms of the revenue generated by apps on its store.
There are multiple ways this could be read – the figures consider only the Google Play store and not other Android-based app downloads such as Amazon’s own Android Store for instance. Similarly it could be argued that the figures were based upon pure revenues and it stands to reason that apps in more developed markets would cost more than in less developed ones.
This argument is largely splitting hairs and both Android and Apple can be satisfied with a very productive 2015 with strong growth seen across both platforms. What the data does show however for app developers and companies who create apps or who are interested in developing on is to pick your market carefully, or pick both, with both Android and Apple clearly having different market positions.
Games, Taxis and Dating
Music streaming apps like Spotify, Pandora (in the US) and Deezer were among the highest revenue earners for apps thanks to in-app purchases and monthly subscriptions. Perhaps unsurprisingly the heavy hitters in terms of earned revenue were games with familiar names such as Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans and Game of War still claiming high revenues on both Android and iOS. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the top earning apps on both platforms were games. Emerging markets, especially China have been key in maintaining the growth of games worldwide but even in the US and the UK it is still games that people turn to on their smartphones.
Aside from games it is interesting to see the Uber effect taking hold in localised markets. Uber has clearly been a game changer for the Taxi industry but now other so-called ridesharing apps are emerging which are more localised but are still bringing in good revenues.
Dating app Tinder also featured high on both Android and iOS in terms of revenue while other dating apps also performed well.
2016 and beyond
2015’s recap reads fairly similar to 2014’s and so don’t expect too much to change this year in terms of the apps that are trending. An interesting note is that while those at the top of the list are what you would consider to be ‘heavy hitters’ there were a larger number of apps and from more independent producers that were successful which bodes well for the industry in general.
So, 2015 is well and truly over. We can only look on and see what the rest of the year brings us.