It’s hard to get useful information out of a crystal ball, a Palantir slightly less so (but there’s the threat of having your mind crushed by Sauron), but market research firm Gartner uses… other methods to make their future predictions and these have a a greater chance of turning out to be correct than most.
One of these predictions doesn’t bode all that well for mobile developers. Based on how mobile users are discovering new apps, that is to say taking less time to personally do do, Gartner believes that by 2018 fewer than 0.01% of apps available on the market will be considered profitable by their developers.
“However, our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits and that many mobile apps are not designed to generate revenue, but rather are used to build brand recognition and product awareness or are just for fun. Application designers who do not recognise this may find profits elusive,” said Gartner analyst and vice president Ken Dulaney .
He added that by 2017, Gartner believes that around 95% of app downloads will be for free apps, saying “…of paid applications, about 90 per cent are downloaded less than 500 times per day and make less than $1,250 a day. This is only going to get worse in the future when there will be even greater competition, especially in successful markets.”
Even if Gartner’s predictions for the new few years of the mobile app market prove correct, it won’t mean that there is less money to go around. There will likely still be some breakout (paid for) hits on the mobile space, even if the majority of content has been downloaded free-of-charge, though popular paid titles will be greatly outnumbered by free releases.