Growth Of The Mobile App Industry In 2020

Smartphones and mobile e-commerce applications have made it incredibly easy for consumers to buy what they need. They no longer need to stroll around the mart, the electronic appliance store, or the clothing outlet to find what they want and then wait in a long queue for their turn to checkout. Instead, they can easily and quickly navigate through an app or e-commerce site optimized for mobile usage to find and buy what they need within seconds.
 
The convenience offered by e-commerce sites and mobile applications is the reason we are seeing a surge in mobile commerce today. According to the online research site Statista, more than 34% of all e-commerce sales in 2017 were conducted through mobile phones; this number is expected to reach 54% by 2021.
 
From the above statistics, it is clear that mobile will be at the forefront of all e-commerce and online sales made in the future. In fact, we already see signs of this.

Current Trends in Mobile Usage

The proliferation of smartphones has significantly altered the business and e-commerce landscape. Today, an increasing number of businesses are adopting a mobile-first strategy, and they have a solid reason for it.
 
According to the World Advertising Research Center (WARC), there are two billion people in the world that currently access the web only through their smartphones; this is more than half of all the mobile phone users in the world. WARC expects this number to increase to 3.7 billion people by 2025, making up more than 72% of the global mobile user population.
 
A survey by the Pew Research Center reveals that 96% of the people in the U.S. now own a mobile phone, with 81% of these people being smartphone owners.
 
mobile-only internet users
(Above is a graph showing the number of cellphone and smartphone users in the U.S. from 2002 to 2019 [Image Source])
 
Another telling statistic is that mobile-only internet users exceed 40 million. The U.S. is also among the top ten countries with the most monthly mobile app users.
 
most apps used and installed per month
(Above is an infographic showing the top ten countries with the most apps used and installed per month on average. [Image Source])
 
From the above infographic, we find that Japan has the greatest number of people who download and use mobile applications each month. China is second, followed by Germany, France, and then the United States.
 
An emerging market for mobile applications and one country that we expect to rise up the ladder in mobile application usage is India; the country already has 800 million mobile phone users, with almost 300 million of these people owning a mobile phone. Smartphone users in India are expected to almost triple by 2022 to reach 859 million.
 
Perhaps, the biggest surprise is Mexico; it’s one country that we did not expect to make the list. The likes of Mexico, South Korea, and even Brazil are likely to drop out of the list in the future. This is because the WARC expects most of the growth in smartphone usage in the future to come from India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Indonesia. While bigger markets, such as Japan, Germany, France, the United States, China, and India, are likely to maintain their place, we can see the likes of Mexico, South Korea, and Brazil being replaced by Indonesia, Pakistan, and Nigeria.
 
However, the U.S. will remain the biggest market for app development companies or app developers in the foreseeable future. This is because more and more businesses in the U.S. are transitioning to a mobile-first strategy, with the development of a mobile application for the business being critical to it.
 
So, why are so many businesses in the U.S. adopting a mobile-first strategy? Because more than 80% of internet users in the U.S. have used their mobile phones to make a purchase online. Additionally, the number of mobile buyers in the U.S. is expected to reach 168.7 million in 2020. Currently, the number of active users of the Amazon shopping app in the U.S. is 150.79 million, and 51% of all mobile retail purchases in the U.S. are made through apps.
 
Americans are not using mobile apps just to make purchases, but they are also using them for entertainment purposes. In fact, Battle Flip—a gaming app—was the most downloaded Google play store app in the U.S. for June 2019. Moreover, the most popular Apple app store category was ‘Games.’ YouTube and Netflix were also popular app downloads amongst American users.
 
The global trend for app downloads is no different from the trend in the U.S. According to Sensor Tower, WhatsApp was the most downloaded app globally in the second quarter of 2019, followed by Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. All of these apps are socializing/entertainment-based apps. Perhaps, this should give businesses some clue of what type of apps they should be working on with app development companies.
 
most downloaded apps globally
(Above is an infographic showing the most downloaded apps globally during the second quarter of 2019 [Image Source])
 
The above infographic should give both businesses and the top app development companies worldwide a good idea of the type of mobile applications their customers/target audience are likely to be interested in. In case they are looking to develop an app for a particular platform, then they can get a clue of the best type of apps to develop from the following information, collected from the App Store and Google Play Store and provided by Sensor Tower.
 
most downloaded apps globally on Google Play Store
(Above is a graph showing the most downloaded apps globally on Google Play Store during the second quarter of 2019 [Image Source])
 
most downloaded apps globally on Apple’s App Store
(Above is a graph showing the most downloaded apps globally on Apple’s App Store during the second quarter of 2019 [Image Source])
 
The current trends in mobile usage outlined above show the importance of having a mobile-first strategy, investing in mobile applications, and the types of apps that businesses and app developers worldwide should focus on. In the next section, we look at why mobile applications are so critical for businesses today.
 
The current trends in mobile usage and the importance of mobile applications for businesses will allow us to know if the mobile app industry is headed in the right direction when we look at and discuss how the mobile app industry is expected to grow in 2020 and beyond.

Why Mobile Applications are So Critical for Businesses Today

With more and more people downloading and using mobile applications each day, investing in a mobile application is a no-brainer for businesses. There is so much to gain and very little to lose for a business by investing in mobile application development, whether it is Android application development or iPhone application development.
 
With each passing day, using mobile applications to support sales and operations is turning out to be a good idea for businesses worldwide. What started out as a trend has now turned into a marketing platform with endless possibilities.
 
Creativity and ideas have now acquired a solid ground for flourishing, and soon, it will become almost impossible for businesses to ignore mobile app development. They wouldn’t even want to; this is because mobile applications are one of the best developments for businesses that want to expand their customer base. Following are some of the reasons we say this.

1. Standing Apart from the Competition

Imagine for a second a world without mobile apps. How would businesses strategize their next step after coming up with an exceptional idea about a new offer? They will make up their mind to wait for years and expect some fruitful results only after tedious planning and crazy long hours of work.
 
On the other hand, it will take only a few tweaks and a few days by app builders to introduce new offers and features on the mobile app. The design and make-up of the app help to distinguish it from other similar apps out there. Additionally, the addition of new features in the blink of an eye will make sure that the businesses stand out from the crowd.

2. Improved Visibility in Organic Search Results

Today, more and more apps are gaining increased visibility in organic search results of Google. Some popular retail brands with mobile apps are already benefiting from this. They include the likes of Target, Amazon, eBay, and Groupon. The search results returned by Google for these retailers include their website listing and social profiles as well as links to their app profile pages. The URL of the app pages presents businesses with a great opportunity to get on the first page of Google SERPs and increase traffic, leads, and sales.

3. Increased Revenue

Mobile apps can help businesses to experience a significant boost in revenue. According to Sensor Tower, the Worldwide Gross App revenue significantly increased in the space of one year from the first half of 2018 to the first half of 2019. Following is an infographic showing this:
 
worldwide gross app revenue
(Above is an infographic showing the Worldwide Gross App Revenue generated in the first half of both 2018 and 2019 from Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store) [Image Source]
 
 
In addition to the above, Sensor Tower predicts that user spending on the App Store and Google Play User to continue to rise over the new few years. Following is an illustration of this:
 
apple’s app store and google play store user
(Above is an infographic showing Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store user spending during 2018-2023 [Image Source])
 
The downloading of the app alone ensures one more loyal customer. Additionally, if the company’s performance remains satisfactory, then the app can lead to more loyal customers. This is because the conversion rate is quite high with mobile apps. According to apptweak, the average App Page conversion rate in the U.S. is 25.25% for the Apple App store and 27.76% for the Google Play Store.

4. Increased Approachability

The main difference between two competitors—one with an app and the other without it—is the ease of approachability. Mobile apps allow businesses to make their way into the palms of billions of mobile users around the world. Being visible at all times helps to overcome many hurdles that hinder the interaction between a business and its customers. Another reason for businesses to have a mobile application is that users tend to shy away from going the extra mile in order to reach a business.

5. A Direct Communication Channel

From businesses to clients and from clients to businesses, communication with mobile apps is direct and in real-time. Any message that the company needs to convey reaches the customers with push notifications. It works in a similar manner for customers who can convey their feedback or complaints without any issues or constraints.
 
Mobile apps skyrocketed in popularity in 2014. Five years later, their use continues to soar high. Mobile apps are here to stay, and businesses that don’t want to lose out to the competition should get a professionally designed mobile application as soon as possible.

The Year Ahead for The Mobile App Industry

In 2016, the revenue earned by the mobile application industry was recorded at $63.7 billion. Only four years later, the mobile app industry is estimated to grow by almost three times to reach $188.9 billion in worth by 2020. Following is an illustration of this:
 
mobile app revenue
(Above is an infographic showing the Mobile App Revenue for the Forecast Period 2015-2020 [Image Source])
 
The above infographic shows a growth of 270% in app revenue from 2015 to 2020. Perhaps, this growth in app revenue can be credited to the increase in the number of smartphone users worldwide. According to Statista, there will be about 2.87 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2020.
 
We can also expect the number of mobile app downloads to increase in 2020 since Statista reveals that the number of mobile app downloads worldwide has increased in the past there years. We expect this trend to continue in both 2019 and 2020. Following is a graph showing the increase in mobile app downloads in the last there years:
 
mobile app downloads worldwide from 2016 to 2018
(Above is a graph showing the number of mobile app downloads worldwide from 2016 to 2018 (in billions) [Image Source])
 
Another interesting revelation made by AppsFlyer predicts that the global app install spends will reach $64.1 billion in 2020 from $38.9 billion in 2018, an increase of 65%. Following is a graph illustrating this:
 
global app install ad spends
(Above is a graph showing the global app install ad spends (in billions) for the period 2017-2020 [Image Source])
 
AppsFlyer also reveals that the region with the highest app install spends will be North America. The app install spend in the region is expected to grow to $12.9 billion by 2020.
 
app install ad spends (in billions) in north america
(Above is an Infographic showing the app install ad spends (in billions) in North America for the period 2017-2020 [Image Source])
 
As per AppsFlyer’s findings, the growth in both the global and North American app install ad spends is mainly being driven by the increasing popularity of shopping apps, which make up almost 44% of all non-organic installs. However, gaming apps are also a major contributor to this growth with these apps, making up more than 40% of all non-organic installs.
 
The growth in app install ad spends has been possible due to the emergence of powerful hardware devices that support immersive, advanced gaming and shopping environments online. Another reason for this growth is the rising popularity of mobile apps to make purchases. According to research firm eMarketer Inc., the share of mobile in the overall U.S. online sales will reach almost 50% by 2020.
 
u.s. smartphone retail mcommerce sales
(Above is a graph showing U.S. smartphone retail Mcommerce sales for the period 2018-2022 [Image Source])
 
eMarketer also predicts smartphone retail Mcommerce sales to increase in the U.S. in 2020. Following is a graph showing this:
 
Forrester also predicts mobile to have a greater impact on U.S. online sales in 2020 and beyond. According to the market research company, more than 40% of all online sales in the U. S in 2022 will have at least some involvement of mobile. At 34% involvement, mobile contributes $1 trillion to the U.S. economy. This implies that its contribution to U.S. online sales and the country’s economy will be huge in 2022.
 
While considering the influence of mobile on online sales, it will be useful for companies—especially those that conduct most of their business online—to invest in a top-notch mobile application developed by a mobile app development company. The application will not only serve people who want to buy from a business, but it will help those who want to get more information about the business and its products/services.

Mobile Usage in 2020 and Beyond

Today, mobile and smartphones are an integral part of our lives. This is the reason the number of mobile users, smartphone devices, and app downloads is increasing each day. The following are some predictions related to mobile usage for 2020 and beyond that prove the growing popularity of both mobile phones and mobile applications.
 
Perhaps, the most important statistic related to mobile usage in the future is that the number of mobile users will reach 6.95 billion by 2021. Following is an illustration of this:
 
mobile users worldwide
(Above is a graph showing the number of mobile users worldwide during the forecast period 2019-2023 [Image Source])
 
According to App Annie, the number of app downloads will exceed 250 billion by 2022. That is an increase of 45% from 2017. Following is an infographic depicting this:
 
global app downloads
(Above is an infographic showing global app downloads in years 2017, 2018, and 2022 [Image Source])
 
Looking at the above infographic, we can say with confidence that app downloads will increase worldwide in 2020.
 
App Annie also predicts the worldwide consumer spend at app stores to increase in 2020 and beyond. This is depicted in the following graph that shows the worldwide consumer spend in app stores in the years 2017, 2018, and 2022.
 
worldwide consumer spend in ios app store, google play
(Above is an infographic showing worldwide consumer spend in iOS App store, Google Play, and Third-Party Android stores combined in the years 2017, 2018, and 2022 [Image Source])
 
Another important statistic related to mobile applications by App Annie is that China, India, the U.S., Brazil, and Russia will be the five countries that will dominate the global app economy till 2022, at least. Following is an illustration of this:
 
app downloads (in billions)
(Above is an infographic showing top countries by app downloads (in billions) in 2017 and 2022 [Image Source])
 
The above infographic ranks countries by the number of app downloads in Google Play, iOS App Store, and third-party Android combined. App Annie also ranks countries by app spend in billions. Following is an infographic showing this:
 
countries by spend in 2017 and 2022
(Above is an infographic showing top countries by spend in 2017 and 2022 [Image Source])
 
From the above statistics from App Annie, we find that China will dominate the global app economy in terms of the number of apps downloaded worldwide. India is expected to take second place. However, it will be some steps behind China, with the country recording 37.2 billion downloads compared to China’s 119.5 billion.
 
In terms of app spend, China is once again expected to lead the global app economy with a total of $62.4 in application spend. The U.S. is expected to come in second place. However, just like India, it will also be behind China. The list of top 5 countries in 2022 with the most app spend will be complete by Japan, South Korea, and Germany.
 
Digital media is another area where the development and usage of mobile applications are growing. In 2017, these applications accounted for 57% of all digital media usage, and the number was expected to increase in the following years.
 
For the top app development companies, the most interesting piece of information would be that, compared to the rest of the mobile users, people aged 16-24 spend 20% more time on apps that they frequently use. This should give the app developers an idea of which segment of the mobile users they need to target.

Apps Stats by Industry

According to Business Insider, the top three apps among millennials are Facebook, Gmail, and Amazon, with the latter taking the pole position. Amazon’s app is popular because of the convenience of shopping that it offers.
 
To better understand the app trends for 2020 and beyond, it is important to look at how mobile applications are faring in different industries. The industries that we will look at are Banking and Fintech, Food and Restaurants, Travel and Transportation, and Retail and Shopping.

Networking and Communication

According to the Manifest, of all smartphone users, 39% use social media apps, 10% use gaming apps, and 10% use communication/messaging apps. Following is an illustration of this:
 
mobile apps usage
(Above is an graph showing the most frequently used mobile apps today [Image Source])
 
Another interesting statistic related to networking and communication comes from MindSea that says that social networking apps are the most commonly used app by millennials, with messaging apps taking second place. Following is an infographic depicting this:
 
type of apps millennials use
(Above is an infographic showing the type of apps millennials use the most [Image Source])
 
From the above infographic, we find that the majority of millennial users today prefer communication and messaging apps over other types of apps. This trend is likely to continue in 2020 and the next few years after that.

Banking and Fintech

According to App Annie, there were 3.4 billion app downloads related to banking and Fintech in 2018. This was an increase of more than 70% in just two years.
 
Another interesting statistic related to banking and Fintech is that the average time spent on banking and Fintech apps is 3.1 minutes. This is a good enough time for any banking institution or Fintech company to leave a lasting impression on their customers. Following is an illustration of this:
 
users on the apps of different industries/sectors
(Above is a graph showing the average time spent by users on the apps of different industries/sectors [Image Source])

Food and Restaurants

In 2018, the in-app food and drink orders increased by 130 percent from two years ago. Additionally, food delivery apps experienced a growth of 175 percent in the U.S. and 255 percent in Canada.
 
According to research by Mintel, more than 60% of consumers find delivery more convenient than dining out. This is the reason food delivery is expected to grow by 12% each year during the next five years. The order for these deliveries will be made mostly through apps.

Travel and Transportation

Travel and Transportation is another area where the development, download, and use of mobile apps is likely to grow in 2020 and beyond.
 
According to App Annie, the top five ridesharing apps all experience a growth of 25% in 2018. LeanPlum reveals that the average time spent by users on travel apps is 2.8 minutes. Another interesting statistic by App Annie related to travel and transportation is that bike and scooter-sharing apps grew by more than 500 percent in 2018.
 
eMarketer reveals that half of all online bookings in the U.S. in 2016 occurred via mobile devices and apps. As predicted, this number has likely increased in the past three years, and the trend is expected to continue in 2020 and beyond. Following is an illustration of this finding:
 
percentage of u.s. mobile travel bookers by device
(Above is a graph showing the percentage of U.S. mobile travel bookers by device during the period 2014-2019 [Image Source])
 
Another interesting app statistic related to travel and transportation is that a quarter of all online travel bookings in 2019 were expected to come through mobile devices. Following is a graph showing this:
 
global mobile sales as a percentage of online travel sales
 
(Above is an infographic showing the global mobile sales as a percentage of online travel sales during 2014-2019 [Image Source])

Retail and Shopping

One of the sectors witnessing rapid growth in the development and usage of mobile applications is retail. According to eMarketer, the retail Mcommerce sales in the U.S. are expected to grow over $240 billion by 2020. Following is a table depicting this:
 
U.S. retailmMcommerce sales
(Above is a table showing U.S. retail Mcommerce sales during 2014-2020 [Image Source])
 
According to LeanPlum, the average time spent by users on shopping and retail apps is 4.6 to 5 minutes. App Annie reveals that shopping via mobile phones has increased by 70 percent in the past two years. The last bit of app statistic related to retail and shopping comes from Deloitte, which reveals that 50 percent of the time spent on retail sales is through mobile devices.
 
The purpose of the above app statistics related to networking and communication, banking and fintech, food and restaurants, travel and transportation, and retail and shopping, is to give readers an idea of how the development, download, and use of mobile applications is likely to grow in these industries/sectors in 2020 and beyond. However, we will not leave everything to the imagination. Instead, we will list right here some of the major predictions for mobile in 2020 and beyond.

Major predictions for 2020 and Beyond

According to Statista, paid downloads and in-app advertising will contribute more than $500 billion to the global mobile app revenue in 2020. Following is a graph depicting this:
 
worldwide mobile app revenues
(Above is a graph showing worldwide mobile app revenues (in billions) during 2014-2023 [Image Source])
 
Another interesting revelation by Statista is that there will be about 179 million people in the U.S. in 2020 that will be watching video content on their mobile devices. Many of these people will be users of Facebook and YouTube apps.
 
According to App Annie, the global in-app advertising spends will grow to an estimated $201 billion by 2021. eMarketer predicts mobile users in 2021 to spend approximately 47 minutes each day on social network apps.
 
Business 2 Community says that, by 2020, 57% of the global gaming market share will belong to mobile games. Following is an infographic showing this:
 
the breakdown of the global gaming market
(Above is an infographic showing the breakdown of the global gaming market share in 2020 [Image Source])
 
In addition to the above, App Annie predicts the global mobile gaming market to grow to $165 billion in 2020. Another interesting statistic is that more than 30% of marketers will be using a voice app in 2020. Following is a graph showing the percentage of marketers using different voice apps in 2019. We don’t expect too much to change here in 2020.
 
marketers that support the different types of voice assistants
(Above is a graph showing the number of marketers that support the different types of voice assistants with a marketer voice app. [Image Source])
 
Finally, IBM predicts the global workforce to grow to 1.87 billion workers by 2022, making up more than 40% of the global workforce. As a result, the development and use of mobile applications will increase to enable employees to be productive from virtually anywhere.

Mobile App Development Trends in 2020 to Watch Out For

As of February 2019, over 80% of Americans own a smartphone. Smartphone sales and usage is also increasing in many other countries, including highly populated ones like China and India. Since there will be billions of smartphone owners in 2020, it only makes sense for businesses to invest in mobile application development and work with a mobile app development company.
 
Whether a business’s area of focus is android app development or iPhone app development, businesses need to sit app developers to discuss the latest trends in mobile application development to get an idea of what type of app they should be looking to develop.
 
We have gone through all the current and future statistics related to the development, downloading, and usage of mobile applications in different industries. Now, we are going to look at some major trends in mobile application development to watch out for in 2020. The following are four mobile application development trends that businesses and the top app development companies need to focus on in 2020.

1. More Proactive Apps

A sophisticated technology that is already being used in mobile apps is artificial intelligent (AI). What is the purpose of this? To allow users to find what they want within seconds. This is made possible by intelligent machines that make the user experience incredibly smooth and quick.
 
The level of proactiveness enabled by sophisticated technology such as AI in mobile apps is helping apps to provide a great level of assistance to users. The use of AI in their development has not only made mobile apps more proactive, but it has also enabled them to offer users more features than ever before. This will help any business to increase the downloading and usage of their mobile applications.

2. Personalized Mobile Experiences

A major area of focus for many businesses today is improving the overall mobile experience for their customers. This means that they have been working longer and harder with app development companies to make their in-app experience as smooth and personalized as possible.
 
Personalization of apps is important because it will save customers the time spent picking the right item from an assortment of products similar to what they want. For example, based on their location, a clothing business may recommend heavy gear to one customer and beach attire to another through its app. This is something customers will appreciate, which is likely to result in repeat usage of the business’s app. Therefore, the personalization of their apps is something that business and the app developers working with them should focus on in 2020.

3. Voice Search and Commands

The use of voice search is booming. According to Cision, voice commerce will grow to $40 billion by 2022. It is not long before voice assistants like Alexa and Siri start handling mobile and in-app purchases for users. With this in mind, it will be sensible for businesses to enable their mobile applications for voice search in 2020. Failing to do so may lead to lost sales.

4. IoT Integration in Mobile Apps

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one emerging technological trend that you just cannot turn a blind eye to. This is because IoT is helping to transform almost every aspect of our life. Integrating IoT into their mobile applications will enable businesses to use mobile applications to control their non-IT equipment remotely. This is a convenience that every business will appreciate and make increasing investments in.

Conclusion

From the above statistics and information, we can say that the mobile app industry is headed in the right direction. 2020 is likely to be a year of increased growth for the industry. New, technology-based trends in mobile application development are likely to push the adoption of mobile applications across industries and regions higher.
 
Some countries and industries are expected to fare better than others in mobile application growth in 2020. However, this does mean that the countries and industries will be at a standstill. Instead, they will also be making a push to break into the top 5 or 10 countries/industries with the highest growth and adoption rate of mobile applications.
 
Overall, things look increasingly bright for the mobile app industry in 2020 and beyond in terms of user adoption and growth. Therefore, both businesses and the top app development companies will do well to increase investments in mobile applications and pay careful attention to how their mobile apps are developed. This will prove fruitful in the future.

Our Review Process

Our writers spent more than 30 hours researching the adoption and growth rate in the mobile app industry. To come up with the information and statistics presented above, they read through the research of top sites such as eMarketer, Forrester, App Annie, Sensor Tower, Statista, AppsFlyer, and more. This research process makes the information provided by us as trustworthy.

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Author

Harnil Oza

Harnil Oza is a CEO of Hyperlink InfoSystem, a mobile app development company based in USA & India having a team of best app developers who deliver best mobile solutions mainly on Android and iOS platform and also listed as one of the top app development companies by leading research platform. He regularly contributes his knowledge on the leading blogging sites.

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