Mobile app revenue steers toward $79B worldwide by 2020, Ovum says

Expect global mobile application revenue and app downloads to increase significantly over the next few years, according to Ovum. 

The technology analyst has predicted global mobile app revenue will increase from $36 billion in 2015 to $79 billion in 2020. 

"[Mobile app revenue] will continue on a higher growth trajectory as people spend more time on apps and as in-app spending intensifies," Guillermo Escofet, principal analyst for Ovum's Digital Media team, said in a prepared statement. 

  • The mobile app market will grow more over the next five years than it has since its inception eight years ago.

  • In the global mobile app market, more than three times as much revenue will be generated between 2016 and 2020 than was generated between 2008 and 2015. 

  • There will be 2.5 times as many app downloads between 2016 and 2020 than there were between 2008 and 2015. 

  • China, the world's biggest smartphone market, is expected to account for the largest share of app installs from 2013 to 2020.

Ovum also noted worldwide app downloads could rise from 211 billion last year to 378 billion in 2020. 

Ovum mobile app revenue growth

Global app downloads and revenue, 2008-2015 vs. 2016-2020. (Source: Ovum)

However, Escofet pointed out app downloads could experience "a marked slowdown in mature smartphone markets ... placing a greater emphasis on download quality rather than quantity."

App quality remains paramount for both developers and consumers, and ultimately, may dictate the future of the apps economy. 

For example, a recent survey of media and entertainment apps conducted by app quality company Applause indicated some of the world's most popular apps failed to meet consumers' quality expectations. 

The survey revealed Netflix, Snapchat and YouTube earned subpar quality scores, which shows these apps "fail to live up to higher expectations by their customers." 

"Due to the popularity and large install bases of these apps, it's important for these apps to not just work, but work well," Applause wrote in its report. "Any faults will be picked up by users who feel that large apps with resources should perform better. In particular, these apps saw low elegance, security and privacy attribute scores, suggesting the need to evaluate the usability and security of these apps to boost the users' perceptions around attributes."

The availability of quality apps likely will impact the apps economy's growth, and developers who prioritize quality over quantity could drive substantial global app revenue and download increases over the next several years. 

For more:
- see the report

Related articles:
Mobile app revenues skyrocket to $30B market
Vision Mobile: Average mobile app revenue is under $4K
App Annie: iOS apps get 85% more revenue than Android