App revenue to double by 2020, outpacing downloads: Ovum

  • App market to grow more over next 5yrs than since its inception 8yrs ago
  • Downloads to slow down as mature markets reach saturation
App revenue to double by 2020, outpacing downloads: Ovum

GLOBAL mobile app revenue will grow by 2.2 times over the next five years, from US$36 billion in 2015 to US$79 billion in 2020, according to Ovum.
This is compared to a 1.8x increase in the number of app downloads, from 211 billion in 2015 to 378 billion in 2020, the global analyst firm said in a statement.
According to Ovum, the mobile app market will grow more over the next five years than since its inception eight years ago.
More than three times as much revenue will be generated between 2016 and 2020 than was generated between 2008 and 2015, and there will be 2.5 times as many downloads (see figure below).

Figure 1: Global app downloads and revenue, 2008-13 vs 2016-20

App revenue to double by 2020, outpacing downloads: Ovum

“Downloads will however see a marked slowdown in mature smartphone markets as they approach saturation and as user acquisition costs escalate, placing a greater emphasis on download quality rather than quantity,” said Guillermo Escofet.
“Revenue, on the other hand, will continue on a higher growth trajectory as people spend more time on apps and as in-app spending intensifies,” added Escofet, principal analyst in Ovum’s Digital Media team and author of the report App Revenue to Double by 2020, Outpacing Download Growth.
Growth in global average revenue per download will tail off by the end of the forecast period, as late adopters and emerging markets become ever greater contributors to the global pie.
Emerging markets will register the steepest growth rate over the next five years in terms of both downloads and revenue – twice as steep as developed markets in the case of the latter.
Yet developed markets will continue to capture the largest share of revenue, Ovum said in its statement.
Downloads, on the other hand, will continue to be dominated by emerging markets. Also, emerging markets’ share of both downloads and revenue will increase.
Ovum’s research sees China as the reason for emerging markets’ dominance in downloads.
The world’s most populous country – and biggest smartphone market – accounts for the largest share by far of app installs throughout the forecast period from 2013 to 2020. It currently accounts for over half of installs.
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