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by John Waghorn on 3rd February 2012
The mobile applications market has developed significantly in the last three years. When you stop to consider that five years ago most people would not have known what an “app” was, it puts this technological transition into perspective.
Today, the apps market for smartphones and other mobile devices has grown into a multi-billion pound industry, with huge developers competing against one another to produce the apps that will have users scrambling to download them.
Apps are now popular with small businesses and huge organisations all over the world, with companies such as Domino’s Pizza, Debenhams, Sainsbury’s, and even us here at Koozai using them to connect with potential and existing customers via a different platform. Of course, there are other functions associated with the mobile application aside from shopping. Examples include communication, WhatsApp Messenger to connect with your friends, news via BBC News and Sky News apps, and the popular mobile gaming sector for applications, Angry Birds anyone? These apps are used for sales, branding, marketing, communication, and even just for plain fun. Whatever their use, there is an app for every purpose.
The Apple Store, which holds a large stake in the mobile application market, currently has over 500,000 apps on their site for users to view and download, and according to Tech Crunch, as of 2011, 15 billion apps were downloaded from the App store. As the technology has developed, other companies such as Google’s Android Market, Blackberry App World, and Nokia Ovi store have come to the forefront of the market and created a larger presence for themselves.
However, a report by Distimo reveals that in 2011 in the US, the Apple App store for both the iPhone and the iPad beat the Google Android Market in relation to the total revenue generated through the 200 highest grossing apps. In addition to this, the Apple App store for iPhone generates around four times the revenue generated via the Google Android Market. This significant change can once again be seen through the increase in the number of key players in the market, and amount of apps available for mobile devices.
Previously, in the initial stages of mobile applications, smaller apps would have had a chance to become popular, although now, only the strongest, detailed, and most developed apps will survive, given the amount of money that is poured into the market. Users want to experience high quality content and an equally memorable experience, and if developers fail to provide this, then ultimately their app will receive fewer downloads. Some apps take longer to develop and unveil, maybe due to the greater expectations from interacting users.
Recently, Starbucks created an app which allows customers to upload their loyalty card and also pay in store via their mobile phone through store scanners. This move suggests that Starbucks clearly see the future as mobile and arguably, they are helping customers to adapt to their changing shopping habits via the use of technology. Shopping habits have changed dramatically in the last ten years. The Internet has allowed us to shop online, and today both mobile apps and mobile Internet allow us to shop using our phones on the move. What starbucks have cleverly done is use up-to-date technology to connect with their customers whilst driving them into their high street stores to make a purchase. This is a perfect example of how you can utilise modern technology to work in your favour.
Whatever the size of your business, you should be engaging in mobile. The vast amount of change we have experienced in such a short space of time indicates that the future will see some very interesting changes indeed. Mobile Internet and mobile apps can help to drive traffic and build awareness of your brand. A recent report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that in 2011, the total number of mobile phone users accessing the internet via their mobile devices was 17.6 million, compared to 8.5 million in 2009. This figure is expected to increase in the future, so developing an app and getting used to the world of mobile will be one new avenue for your company to generate profit and raise brand awareness.