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Mobile App Market Globalization - The Next Big Thing

Published on 29 April 14

Research done by TechNavio has come up with some very interesting findings as far as the global mobile application market is concerned. Analysts state that this market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 36.74% over the period 2012-2016.

Mobile App Market Globalization - The Next Big Thing - Image 1

Other findings in this study include:

  • the market will be propelled largely because of the growth in the number of smart phones and tablets
  • mobile business applications are also going to grow tremendously
  • one of the biggest challenges for this market will be the necessity of mobile applications to support a variety of operating systems and
  • the key vendors in this market space are Apple, Google, BlackBerry, Nokia and Microsoft.

Almost every research study done on mobile app marketing globalization, focuses on its extraordinarily bright future. Here are some of the reasons why this is an extremely exciting and dynamic space to watch.

New markets

According to research conducted by AppAnnie, Japan has overtaken the United States when it comes to applications market size. By the end of this year, the study predicts that the application revenue in Japan will be anywhere between 30-40% bigger than the USA.

Considering the fact that Google and Apple are having a pretty aggressive war in Japan, it does point to the fact that this is a huge market.

Mobile markets in India and China are also showing rapid growth. Taiwan and Hong Kong are considered profitable even though they are significantly smaller in size. Some of the things that an application creator or developer and marketer will have to keep in mind are language localization and the necessity to incentivize application makers.

This simply means that an application marketer has to take into account which new languages will be profitable and at the same time, which ones will be easy to go global with. A new language may be profitable in terms of development but taking it global might be a challenge.

For instance, China is not accessible for Facebook and developing applications in the Chinese language will need to take this into account. This simply means that if an application has been made outside of China, then the developer must look at translating the same and even making it culturally appropriate in order to make it appealing to the Chinese market.

Where are the applications being developed?

This critical question is important because for a long while, it was the USA that reigned supreme when it came to the software production and applications development market space. However, according to a recent report from Flurry, more applications are being created outside the USA rather than inside this country.

In the year 2013, 64% of the applications were produced outside USA. Compared to 55% in the year 2011, this is a significant trend indeed.

Localizability of applications

As stated before, the localization of applications is also important. For a country like China for instance, it can become extremely important for an application developer to tweak his product in order to be culturally appropriate.

Interestingly, it is the developers in countries such as Finland, Denmark, Bulgaria, Ireland and Slovenia who are leading the way when it comes to creating localizable applications. This was revealed in a study done by Flurry. In terms of measuring the impact by application developers, Finland leads the way in a huge manner.

The power of an application developed in Finland can be ascertained by the fact that Supercell, a Finnish games company made itself $892 million in revenues last year just from 2 of its games - Clash of Clans and Hay Day.

The popular mobile applications

While it may be rather obvious that games are one of the most popular categories when it comes to mobile applications, messaging and social platforms are also making a huge mark. For instance, according to AppAnnie, Line was the top earner in the year 2013.

This messaging application earned $330 million in revenue last year. Such has been the success of this application that the developers have also branched off into e-commerce. Considering the fact that this application has more than 350 million registered users, mobile commerce can indeed push its global presence even more.

Competition can emerge from anywhere

The exciting thing about the mobile app market globalization is also the fact that competition can emerge from almost anywhere. Certain applications have become popular in a few parts of the world. For instance, Line of Japan has become pretty popular as a messaging platform. If one is talking about messaging platforms, there is also WeChat in India and WhatsApp in various other parts of the world.

India is likely to see some more competition because Mxit, an African company is looking at making its presence felt in the messaging application domain. Right now this company states that it has 7.4 million monthly active users and it is looking to take on the 35 million users of WhatsApp and 10 million for Line. One of its unique selling points is that Mxit is offering connectivity for some of the older feature phones as well. (Source -

Factors behind globalization

There is a confluence of factors that is going to drive mobile app market globalization in the near future. Studies reveal that app downloads are likely to generate revenues of $ 63.5 billion in the year 2017. (Source -

Some of the main factors that will drive this massive growth in downloads are:

  • stability or majority of the app marketplace
  • growth in smartphone shipments where studies predict that 56% of the handsets shipped in the year 2017 will be smart phones and this will mean around 1296 million smart phones in the marketplace
  • tablet sales, which will also increase dramatically and touch 398 million devices in the year 2017
  • the very real possibility of application users growing at a CAGR of 29.8% to touch 4.4 billion users by the end of the year 2017.

Even as the major players namely Google Play, Apple App Store, Windows phone store, Nokia store and BlackBerry continue to play a huge role in the globalization of mobile applications, there will also be carrier owned applications stores such as China Mobile, AT&T and so on.

Thus, without doubt, monitoring the trends of the global markets for mobile applications is relevant and interesting for any app developer and marketer.

This blog is listed under Development & Implementations and Mobility Community

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