According to the data analytics company Flurry, there currently is a healthy and growing “middle class” app economy.
Flurry reports seeing 357% growth over the past 18 months from independently owned apps that have a worldwide audience of over 20 million monthly active users, and 121% growth from those with an audience of over 1 million.
It’s worth noting that in the case of the independent-owned apps with the 20 million active users, the actual number of apps has only grown from 7 in Q1 2012 to 32 in Q3 2013.
At the same time, the number of mobile app developers who hit 1 million active users changed from just under 400 to 875 from Q1 2012 to Q3 2013 respectively.
The data was collected from apps running on Flurry’s platform from Q1 2012 to Q3 2013. Flurry’s platform has a broad reach among mobile apps– there are now over 400,000 apps across over 1.2 billion mobile devices which use Flurry’s app analytics platform.
Because Flurry’s customers tend to install the company’s analytics software in their apps during testing periods ahead of their public launch, Flurry has insight into what the app ecosystem will look like in the near future. Today, the company says that over the past 18 months, application starts (as these new apps’ appearances are being called) have nearly doubled.
The new mobile app data from Flurry seems to counter a number of theories and various reports that the app stores are becoming overcrowded, and that while the app stores are filled more apps than users could ever want, few of these apps are being used.
A good bit of the mobile app growth Flurry is touting today is due to mobile app adoption in emerging markets, something the company alludes to today by citing the adoption of gaming, utility and messaging apps like LINE, Kakao, Snapchat and WhatsApp around the world.
In particular, the company found earlier this summer that China alone accounted for 24% of all the connected devices worldwide, including both smartphones and tablets.
This means that while Flurry is making a good point that there’s still plenty of room for growth in the mobile app stores, by taking a high-level view of the mobile app development & usage data, it may be glossing over the very real struggles developers in mature markets have to overcome to just get their app noticed by users, and then keep it from being abandoned by users later on.
If this latest mobile app data from Flurry about a “middle class” app economy is really true, then this may indeed suggest that there is a middle-ground market for mobile apps that are able to achieve a certain number of active users; even if those same mobile apps might not be constantly used.
The Flurry data also suggests that there may be separate challenges & advantages faced by mobile app developers in separate markets like the established US Smartphone mobile application market vs the new Smartphone mobile app market developing in China.
The new data from Flurry also confirms that mobile applications will still face an initial struggle to get noticed and then continually adopted and used by many users in order to become large successes in the mobile application market due to the current presence of over 1 million applications in the Apple/iOS mobile app store.