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Overview of the Mobile Apps Industry, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Mobile apps (short for “applications”), including those for magazines, information services such as health site WebMD, games, newspapers, catalogs and ebooks, to name but a few of the tens of thousands of uses, didn’t really exist before the introduction of the iconic iPhone smartphone (although online “widgets,” which offer similar features, had been around for quite some time).  The Apple App Store launched in July 2008 with only about 500 apps available.  By 2022, Apple’s store had 1.8 million apps that were either for sale or downloadable free-of-charge.  Sensor Tower reports that Apple’s App Store sales grew to $86.8 billion in 2022, up from $85.1 billion in 2021.
The vast majority of apps are downloadable free-of-charge, as they are offered to consumers to enable them to more quickly access internet-based stores and services via mobile devices.  You might think of this as app-based advertising.  For example, airlines such as United Airlines and Singapore Airlines offer free apps that make it easier to make purchases from the airlines.  Apps sold for a fee generate only modest revenues per average app, with roughly 500 downloads daily per average app.  App fees tend to be in the $3.00 range.  Paid apps usually are free of advertisements.  However, Apple announced plans to reduce fees from 30% to 15% of app store sales for small developers (those with no more than $1 million in revenue).  Sensor Tower estimated that only about 0.2% of the apps in the Apple App Store generated more than $1 million in 2019.
Meanwhile, vast numbers of apps are also available for the Android mobile phone operating system (the world’s leading smartphone platform).  Android is the mobile operating system developed by Google, and it is the most popular operating system in the mobile world.
On all platforms, the most popular apps include games such as Candy Crush; tools such as Google Maps; and entertainment- and media-related apps, such as those for Pandora internet-based radio.  At the same time, apps provide tools for business people, travelers, students, hobbyists, wine drinkers, people who like to cook, job seekers, children, sports fans, shoppers, car enthusiasts and myriad other special interest niches.
The number of apps on the market has become so massive that consumers are less likely to be willing to sort through app stores to find useful tools.  Instead, to a growing extent, they rely on recommendations from friends, emails from trusted sources and magazine reviews in order to find new apps to download.  Many smartphone users have downloaded a large number of apps, but only use a few of them on a regular basis.
Microsoft’s Windows 11, the first new version of its operating system since 2015, was released in late 2021.  The new system features an apps store that collaborates with Amazon, enabling PC app stores to operate as simply as those used on smartphones.  Users are able to choose apps formerly limited to Android operating systems such as TikTok for video sharing and Uber for ride sharing.  The long-term intent is to make the PC experience more app-driven, and thus more like using a smartphone.

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