2014 was another strange year of simultaneously explosive growth and entrenched maturation; where most of the biggest apps solidified control in their areas, yet tons of new apps appeared and a few were hugely successful. It is a reminder that fast moving trends dominate all of the app stores, and how maturity is now more about equal choices amongst stores.
The data is all about the numbers from the app store perspective – how many apps, how many developers, and so on. Here is a blurb on how fast the developers and apps available on the various app stores continue to grow.
App development is certainly on the rise and the platform doesn’t seem to matter. In 2014, all three app stores grew by at least 50% (by the way, when we say growth we mean the percent change from the end of the previous year). What’s interesting is that although Apple continues to grow strongly, it’s really Google Play that’s growing. In 2014, the number of apps distributed through Google Play has doubled. Amazon is also enjoying impressive growth, albeit from a much smaller base.
But what is missing, of course, is “churn” – how engaged people are with the apps they download. I mean, remember the survey showing that nearly 25% of apps were used just ONCE?!? Well that number has dropped to about 20%, and the number of apps used >11 times in the first 6 months has risen to ~39% (from ~30%) … but that still means there are more than 60% of people using an app 10 or fewer times!
Is the continues explosion of app growth related to trying to be one of the 39%? Is it more related to the continued transition from paid to ‘free with in-app purchases’? Is the fact that Google Play’s #1 growth area is Games related to playing ‘catch-up’ with iOS games? Or what else is behind all of this growth?
What were your trends in 2014? Did you add more new apps, solidify existing usage, pare back your random-downloads? Did you add any ‘must-have’ apps? Let us know! Of course we could also discuss how the explosive app growth plays into the ‘death of the mobile web’ as noted here … let us know what you think!