Musings on the State of the (App) Developer Nation

Musings on the State of the (App) Developer Nation

Vision Mobile just created a fantastic report called "State of the Developer Nation." Here are some highlights and thoughts:

There's no question that apps are here to stay (and that was a big question, even just 24 months ago). Over half of all phones sold worldwide are now smartphones:

With lots of app growth already and doubling in the next 24 months:

"The global app economy was worth $68 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow to $143 billion in 2016"

It's, unsurprisingly, a two-horse game between iOS and Android, with HTML5 rounding out the top three. Android is dominating the global developer mindshare, although iOS still dominates in non third-world countries and iOS still commands the most loyalty among its developers. So, some interesting tension there. One way to cast it is "Andorid is everywhere, but iOS is more meaningful."

"Android and iOS capturing over 94% of smartphone sales in Q4 2013. Android continues to dominate Developer Mindshare with 71% of developers that target mobile platforms, developing for Android.

Apple's iOS comes as a distant second at 55% of global app Developer Mindshare. iOS is strong in Europe and North America, but takes third position behind HTML5 in South Asia, South America and Middle East & Africa."

"iOS commands the most loyal developers with 59% of developers that target iOS prioritising it over any other platform. For many developers the question is now about which platform to prioritise, not which platform to develop for."

Windows Phone continues to be a dark horse third player, with developers saying they intend to adopt the platform, but usage still a distant fourth in actual usage.

Turns out, tablet-first may have just been a fad, and are actually companion devices more than primary devices. I've seen this trend really accelerating after tablet mania in 2011-2012.

"Tablets are very much a “companion” development option; tablets attract 83% of app developers but just 12% of developers target tablets as their primary development screen."

It's still a feast or famine world for app developers, with very few feasting. We're seeing a big rise in e-commerce via apps although the overall number is still low. iOS dominates monetization, with 10x the revenues of the average Android app that monetizes.

"60% of developers are below the “app poverty line”, i.e. earn less than $500 per app per month, according to the latest Developer Economics survey.

iOS has a larger “middle class” than Android. Among developers that generate $500 - $10K per app per month, 37% prioritise iOS vs. 25% Android.

In-app advertising remains one of most popular revenue models at 26% of app developers, particularly strong on platforms where demand for direct purchases is weak, such as Windows Phone and Android."

"Use of e-Commerce as a revenue model for apps grew significantly, from 5% of app developers in Q3 2013 to 8% in Q1 2014."

"In terms of developer revenues per capita, iOS maintains its momentous gap with median revenues between $500 and $1000 per app / month, much higher than the median revenues of Android developers ($100 - $200 per app / month). As Android continues to grow in mid- and low-end handset segments, we don’t see the revenues for Android developers catching up with iOS anytime soon."