Apple App Store To Have 5 Mn Apps by 2020: How To Make Your iOS App Stand Out In The Crowd?

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The App Store of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) appears to be expanding like the universe. The latest report by Sensor Tower predicts that the total number of apps on App Store would cross 5 million mark by 2020. In the current scenario, Apple consists of around 2 million apps, and by the end of 2016, the figures are stipulated to touch 2.93 million. A whopping 5.06 million apps are expected to inhabit the App Store by the end of 2020, accumulating a 73% jump between 2016 and 2020.

Last week Apple revealed that the company had already paid a substantial $50 billion to its developers since the App Store came into existence. As Apple keeps 30% of the revenues from the apps, the company has accumulated a sizable revenue share from its App Store till date. Therefore, 5 million apps by 2020 don’t seem an inevitable prospect considering the contribution of the App Store in Apple’s overall revenue.

Sensor Tower is analysing the growth of Apple’s App Store since its launch in 2008. The App Store recorded a parabolic growth in the number of apps since its inception in 2008. In 2008, App Store consisted of merely 5,000 apps that reached an unimaginable 1.75 million by the end of 2015. The report estimates that an enthralling 2.13 million new apps would be added to the App Store in the next four years.


The scenario is enchanting as apps are accounting a significant 56% of the total time spent on digital platforms by smartphone users. The Web is losing its shine as a whopping 78% of the total time spent on mobile is on apps. To put things in perspective, 51,000 apps are downloaded from the App Store every minute.

On the other hand, many questions encircle the humongous growth in the number of apps on the App Store:

  • How would Apple ensure that the older ones don’t overshadow new apps?
  • How would small businesses compete with the established ones in the ocean of apps?
  • How would Apple make sure that the customer is fed with the best app that he wants?
  • Apple would work for InstanApp system akin Android, that doesn’t need one to download the whole app?

The top App Categories

The report also illustrates the popularity of various categories by analysing the performance of new apps listed on the App Store in a month. Categorically, Games dominated the list of new apps added by category in May 2016. A sizeable 48,231 number of apps were released in May 2016, of which 20,958 were gaming apps, accounting 43% of the total app download share. The second dominant category was Education with 2,472 new apps followed by Entertainment (2,378), Business (2,247) and Lifestyle (2,225). The listing of a vast number of Gaming apps may be attributed to the fact that gaming apps become obsolete after a short span of time.


New App Addition + App Retention = Key To Success

Does the highest number of new apps addition guarantees the success of an app category? Actually, not! It’s important to take the retention rate of apps from various categories into account to identify the best performing apps on the already crowded App Store. This helps app developers to determine the best performing apps from the future.

While the Gaming category tops the above chart, gaming apps have comparatively low retention rates. The frequent launch of new apps in this category makes users keep shuffling from one app to another sooner than expected. Though a large number of Entertainment and Lifestyle apps may be credited to the high retention rate, across all app stores, Media and Entertainment app section have the highest app retention rate pegged at 24% even after three months of installation. This could be attributed to a sizeable amount of time people spend in consuming media on their smartphones. Lifestyle and e-commerce have a considerable 18% average retention rate, whereas, the gaming apps have just 10% of the retention rate after three months of installation.


App developers put in a lot of effort and investment developing an app for their businesses. But the bitter truth in the app scenario is that a mammoth 75% of the users globally uninstall an app in a span of 90 days. That’s the harsh truth of the glittering app stores of Android as well as Apple. Only one in every four smartphone users use an app just once after downloading while others never open it. Still, a substantial 65% of the apps are downloaded via search queries and on an average 1.5 apps are downloaded by users every month.

On the flip side, the global app retention rate had declined from 39% in the year 2014 to 34% in 2015. This declining retention rate could be attributed to the fact that there is a 5% point rise in the total number of users who neglect the apps after download, to 25%. Therefore, app developers have to employ some dynamic measures to capture their customers and keep them engaged.

The Need of the Hour

Apple has made some changes to make its App Store experience more lucrative and push the newer apps as well. Apple has introduced advertisements in App Store search, thus providing a new window for developers as a significant 65% of the apps are downloaded through the search query. To give a much-required push to the new apps, the featured apps section of the App Store doesn’t include the already installed apps on your device.

However, how to make users download a particular app is, by far, the most difficult question for developers to answer. But, by a number of strategies like targeted Ad campaigns, push messages, creating a brand experience may create wonders for developers.


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