Categories: Business / Mobile Apps


The mobile app market is exploding, and it’s only going to get bigger, according to new research from App Annie. Worth a staggering $1.3 trillion in 2016, the global app economy will reach $6.1 trillion in 2021. That’s growth of 37% each year.

So what’s behind this growth? It’s not that people are downloading more apps. It’s that they’re spending more time – and more money – on their core apps. And as eCommerce grows and app-based payment becomes more seamless, the incentive to shop through apps is even greater.

More people are using mobile apps

Americans spend 5 hours a day on their phones.

Americans spend 5 hours a day on their phones.

The world is becoming increasingly mobile-first. Currently around 3.4 billion people are using mobile apps. It’s anticipated that number will almost double to 6.3 billion by 2021. Not only that, but the amount of time we’re spending on mobile apps is set to grow as well. By 2021, we’ll be spending a collective 3.5 trillion hours on mobile apps, an increase of 18% year on year. Considering that US users already spend about 5 hours a day on mobile, that’s a significant increase.

More people are spending money on apps

Mobile app users are becoming more confident about spending money through apps. Each user currently spends about $379 annually on apps, which amounts to about 80c an hour. That figure is going to grow to $1008 by 2021. So what’s driving the growth in spending? In-app purchases are part of it. But a larger part is paying for services and products. Amazon and Alibaba account for a huge part of expenditure globally, while services such as Uber and Lyft are driving repeat purchases. As such behaviors become entrenched, using mobile to complete basic daily tasks such as shopping, dining, travel and paying bills will become the new normal.

The mobile app market is going beyond smartphones

AR is the next step forward in mobile apps.

AR is the next step forward in mobile apps.

But our app usage is going to extend much further than this – and well beyond the screens of our phones. According to Business Insider, we’ll see a shift from smartphone-based mobile apps to other solutions such as augmented reality via wearable devices. AI and the growth of 5G are additional advances that may rewrite the current trajectory of the mobile app economy.

Apple’s recent launch of the iOS “ARKit”, along with the growth of the Internet of Things, suggests that we’re about to see a shift in what it means to be mobile. Rumor has it that the forthcoming ten-year anniversary iPhone will function more as an AR device and less of a phone. Combine it with Apple’s supposed AR optical device, and we’re going to see some changes in how we interact with mobile.

The smartphone mobile app ecosphere still has plenty of potential. But there’s clearly a huge upside to becoming an early adopter of what’s next – and tapping into a multi-trillion dollar mobile app market.



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Touchtap is a mobile development agency specializing in mobile development. Learn how to get mobile applications developed.

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