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Mobile Apps: 10 years on! How is the industry keeping users interested?

Updated on July 3, 2019

The mobile app growing frenzy has reached its peak since the launch of smartphones in 2008. How to please consumers in a market full of options?

Mobile applications have been an integral part of people's daily lives since the late 00's. They have been offering the most ingenious solutions to global consumers daily needs: the way we socialize, watch our favorite TV shows, buy goods and so on. With that in mind, the need for more innovative ways to take advantage of this abundant market is an ever-approaching reality. App usage time peaked at 223 minutes per day in 2017 and generated US$189 billion in revenue through app stores and advertising in the USA alone. Let's have a look at some industry figures.

The way in which US consumers are using their apps in terms of time spent is split between two business categories: Corporations and SMB's. The big players retain 63% of the consumer market, leaving the remaining 37% to smaller enterprises running miscellaneous apps. The latter percentage represents quite a staggering proportion given that the big players, that is, large corporations, are not a direct concern in terms of competition for enterprises seeking to attain a share of this market. In addition to this, when we look at consumer usage in terms of app category the 23% proportion of usage suggests almost a quarter of overall preference sways significantly toward miscellaneous "other" app category. That could be seen as encouraging news if innovating in the sea of services from the mobile application industry is where your SMB set to; although the "Miscellanea" app category will not offer as much traffic from incoming customers in comparison with messaging apps, for example, it will still offer a lot of room for competitive edge against the competition in the same category; for instance, the app-based bike and scooter rental has been thriving steadily and with its popularity attracting investors, its traction curve shows no sign of stagnating any time soon.

Additionally, what consumer behavior figures show in terms of fidelity and consistency in app usage is quite surprising for SMB's set to launching the next app. There is a peak in consumer usage among adolescents and early twenties category; slight decline but consistent time usage in their mid-twenties all through to mid-sixties, only then showing a sharp decline in usage.

The evidence these figures show is that if businesses are able to offer compelling ideas with practical and time-effective solutions for consumer's daily routines, or in some cases even life-saving, SMB's could be in for a win. This could provide an edge against 23% of competitors out of the total pool of apps by category and you would be set to earn the loyalty of prospective customers throughout the estimate course of three decades.

But a further question and perhaps a more intriguing one remains: is it really about creativity in the sense of gadget apps that the current entrepreneur should be focusing on? Or have we reached an era where the boom in mobile apps has reached such a saturated level that the way forward is really on apps created to keep people away from apps? Global news about the effects of mobile devices over usage is something nobody could say has gone unnoticed. With the growing number of studies on the effects of mobile apps usage, it would only be reasonable to further investigate where the possibilities in this area are. After all, the hints pointing toward this trend are not less than explicit: the term Phantom Vibration Syndrome, the sensation one's mobile device is vibrating when in fact it is not, is on WebMD as an official term; not to mention the widely spread Pokemon Go case taking the mobile app frenzy to a whole new level. Apps such as Moment, Offtime, Breakfree & AppDetox have already picked up the signals and offer tracking, usage habit analysis or even blockage of an app after the set limit has been reached. Either way, when launching an app in the ocean of existing ones, it is imperative that researchers touch the core issue: apps might have been available for a decade but people's most basic and authentic contemporary needs are still the premise to give MBS's a run for their money.

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