We used to think that it was amazing that we could make phone calls with a mobile device no bigger than a pack of cigarettes – soon after, we could send messages without a secret decoder ring…just type the messages in our phone, push a button, and off it would go and only seconds later arrive at its destination. Soon after, we could take pictures and even send those throughout the world by the push of a button and each year the technology got better – faster, cheaper, and better quality. Even though all of this occurred only over the past few years, it seems like decades ago – now we can control of home's alarms, spy on our kids and adjust the temperature in the house…all from our smartphone. Most people are familiar with the concept of a Smart TV that is wirelessly connected to the internet – from our TV screen (which is now averaging about 40-50-inches), we can access Apps, just like on our smartphone. We can listen to music from our cloud, watch Netflix, play games, watch YouTube and much, much more – and we can even control our TVs with an App on our smartphones. Electronics are now even built in to our refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washer and dryer – pretty soon, our entire home and even automobile will be manipulated by a control panel, remote control or our smartphone…probably all three.
The App Market for connecting these devices is thriving, and actually blurring the line between our physical and digital worlds and everyday tasks are becoming automated and taken out of our hands. This study by Annie App says that another study by Gartner forecasts that 26 billion connected devices will be installed globally by 2020. There are six major categories of Apps – Health & Fitness, Media, Productivity, Car, Home and Watch and we will take a look at some of the major trends that were found as a result of this study. Our App world is rapidly changing and several major trends occurred during 2013. In the never-ending Apple vs Google, we can state that in downloads, Google Play lead the way over Apple's App Store by over 15-percent, however, during that same period, the App Store generated over two times the App revenue of Google Play. This is one of the major reasons App Developers like to get out those iOS Apps first – there is simply more money to be made, not because the like iOS better than Android.
The second trend is that in App Revenue, Japan became the number one country in generating that revenue – finally surpassing the U.S. Japan had over 3 times the revenue growth in 2013, driven mostly by Gaming Apps within Google Play and one of the reasons that helped Google Play overtake the iOS App Store in downloads during 2013. Brazil, Russia, India and China – known as the BRIC Countries – made strong gains in 2013 and should continue to do so in 2014 and beyond. However, the study also shows that new markets are poised to have strong, breakout years in 2014 – they are Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Mexico and Indonesia. So we have the App Superpowers of Japan, South Korea and the U.S., along with the BRIC Emerging Powers and new Markets to Watch – all trending toward to a great 2014 in App downloads and profits. There is a real trend now with in-App store games now surpassing Handheld Gaming devices – the iOS App Store pass them in Q1 2013 and the Google Play Store surpassed the handhelds in Q2 2013. Combined, the iOS and Google Play customers spent 3 times the amount on App Games as they did in the handheld market in Q3 2013.
We saw this happening in other studies and this one bears out the same results – the Freemium business model is proving it is a moneymaker, growing from 86-percent of game revenue in 2012 to 93-percent in 2013. The Freemium model is now becoming the dominant model, even in Apps for messaging, music, news and dating. The top two Apps in each category that use the In-App Purchase are: Games – Puzzle and Dragons and Candy Crush Saga. Messaging – Line and Skype. Music Streaming – Pandora Radio and Rdio. News – NYTimes and The Economist. Dating – Zoosk and Badoo. Trend number six shows that Messaging Apps are now evolving into other media platforms by incorporating Freemium models and emoticon stickers to encourage in-app purchases. They continue to expand and are now incorporated into Music, Books and E-commerce functionalities. The top messaging Apps are Skype, WhatsApp Messenger, WeChat, LINE and KakaoTalk. Next trend is that Music App revenues shot up by 75-percent from 2012 to 2013, partially led by the big success of Pandora Radio in the U.S. The Top Ten Rankings in Music Apps: Pandora Radio, Magic Piano by Smule, GarageBand, Rdio, Ultimate Guitar Tabs, Sing! Karaoke, Deezer, Slacker Radio, Free Music Download, and AmpliTude.
Another trend is that social-focused photo and video Apps are now competing with traditional social Apps – allowing users to quickly enhance photos by adding some creativity before posting. These include the top Apps: Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Vine and LINE Camera – downloads increased by 55-percent from 2012 to 2013. The last trend is that Mobile Banking, Payment, and Financial Apps are on the rise and saw a large increase of 55-percent in 2013 over 2012, and look to be poised for a strong 2014. The top App in Banking was Chase, followed by Wells Fargo, in Payments we have PayPal as number one followed by Alipay and under Personal Financial Management (PFM) we have 51 Credit Card Butler followed by Mint.com. Below is a listing of the Top Ten Gaming and non-Gaming Apps by downloads – take a look over the listing and let us know on our Google+ Page if you helped shape this list or is it way off from what you purchase…as always, we would love to hear from you.