Mobile apps generate $34.2 billion in global revenue last year, IDC says

Mobile application installs could exceed 210 billion in 2020, according to International Data Corp (IDC).

The IT market research firm noted mobile device users installed nearly 156 billion mobile apps worldwide in 2015, generating $34.2 billion in direct (non-advertising) revenue.

In addition, IDC has predicted more than 210 billion mobile app installs will create $57 billion in direct revenue in 2020.

  • IDC has projected mobile app install volume will experience a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3 percent.

  • Direct revenue from mobile apps is expected to expand at a five-year CAGR of 10.6 percent.

  • Google Play captured about 60 percent of install volume and nearly 36 percent of direct revenue in 2015.

  • The Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store "ecosystem" captured nearly 58 percent of global direct app revenue in 2015, a 36 percent year-over-year increase.

John Jackson, IDC's Research Vice President of Mobile and Connected Platforms, also noted the mobile apps marketplace continues to evolve, which could impact the number of mobile app installs worldwide.

"Facebook's moves to incorporate news and other interests into its experience will likely pull traffic and install volumes away from discreet apps," Jackson said in a statement. "Similarly, the emergence of 'bots,' which seek to automate interactions in a contextually infused way, are another in a series of examples of value being created above the OS layer and even above the app."

App analytics provider App Annie ranked Facebook as the top company by app downloads in March, and the social network could help drive the rising number of app installs going forward. 

"With Facebook's strong presence in messaging apps, its plans for the category stand to greatly influence the space," the company wrote in a blog post. "Based on announcements at its F8 developer conference, those could include a lot more video, more VR and more chatbot interaction.

Also, App Annie noted consumers likely will continue to demand entertainment apps. 

"Messaging and sharing may top the download list, but the top 10 apps by revenue includes a different mix of categories. With streaming entertainment providers facing great competition and great opportunity, exclusivity can help in acquiring new users and driving revenue," App Annie pointed out.

For more:
- see the report

Related articles:
Devs comment on Google's plans to offer app install ads
Adobe: 50% of an app's total life span occurs within six months of an install
InMobi: App installs grow 70%, with entertainment app interest surging

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