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What Are The Biggest Challenges For The Mobile App Industry?

What are the biggest challenges for the mobile app industry? That is a question that app design companies should be asking regularly if the goal is to be on the cutting edge of design and development rather than attempting to chase the wave of success that others have already ridden.

Today we will discuss where we feel the industry is at right now along with the biggest challenges for the mobile app industry for the rest of this year.

Have we peaked?

The mobile app market is still growing very quickly. While some might think we will hit the top of the mountain sometime soon, according to various models and studies we are actually still pretty far from the top. That might be a bit surprising to some seeing that gross annual revenue for the mobile app industry is expected to be about $50 billion this year.

According to a few projections, including one from Statista, gross annual revenue is expected to hit almost $190 billion by 2020, which is a very healthy increase.  Part of the expected increase is based on less than half the world’s population currently owning smartphones. Untapped markets will be the reason for strong growth.

As expected, Android and iOS are dominating the smartphone market. Android is approaching stranglehold territory with about 88% of all smartphones sold around the globe being an Android product of one type or another. Apple is still strong with over 10% of sales plus they have a huge existing market to work with.

Both Google and Apple are sitting pretty in regards to popularity and market share, so much that it is almost inconceivable that anyone else would be able to legitimately enter the app market for another smartphone and expect success.

What challenges will the industry face?

These are in no particular order:

  • Useful aggregator apps – Develops need to create better, more useful aggregator apps. These types of apps pull content and information from multiple sources and then compile it into one interface. Currently news is the most popular type of this app with Flipboard being a prime example. Because of the convenience factor and how they can be integrated into other existing services they are an area that needs to be explored and developed.
  • Increasing Android app revenue – Right now the average Android app developer makes less than half than their iOS counterparts. This is interesting as Android is much more popular than iOS in the development world with 3 developers favorable to Android for every 1 favorable to iOS. So those developing for Android need to not only get leaner with production costs, but also need to develop more engagement and retention to generate revenue similar to their iOS counterparts.
  • Reducing battery drain – Making apps that are more battery efficient is a huge challenge to the industry. Users are downloading and using more apps and the ones that are highly efficient with battery usage while being useful or helpful are going to be important. Yes, Facebook gets away with being a massive battery drain, but they are the top dog in the app game and can do what they want.
  • Finding the next niche buster – Games have been a hot commodity for years, but what is the next big niche that will experience over 200% growth? Finding the right growing niche is a big challenge because you want to be riding that wave and not trailing it. Aggregator apps seem a likely choice for explosive growth especially ones for travel. News and productivity are two other categories that have been growing but could rise to the top.
  • Apps that work across multiple devices – We now have smartphones, tablets and wearables that can all utilize apps. A big challenge will be managing the growing complexity of specifications to create apps that can work across the growing spectrum of devices. If your users don’t have a seamless experience you could be in trouble.
  • Testing – New devices are released every month. Operating systems are changing and upgrading to coincide with these new devices. That means the pool of devices and OS’s that you use for testing is growing which makes testing a much tougher challenge than it was the preceding year. Testing policies and procedures need to be updated and adjusted to ensure you are able to perform proper due diligence or you risk unexpected problems popping up on your app’s release for devices you didn’t or weren’t able to test on.

The bottom line is that every industry faces new challenges each year. Anticipating and understanding those issues then allows you to plan and forecast the proper strategy. The biggest challenges for the mobile app industry we have outlined fall into that boat. Those businesses that plan around these issues will be more likely to have a successful year.

Be sure to check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.

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