If developers are finding it difficult to make money from apps today, things are only going to get tougher, according to a forecast by Gartner (via TechCrunch). Looking at the period through to 2018, Gartner predicts that fewer than one in 10,000 apps will be considered financially successful by their developers.

“The vast number of mobile apps may imply that mobile is a new revenue stream that will bring riches to many,” said Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “However, our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits.”

While this may not necessarily be a bad thing for major brands, who Gartner note may use apps to build brand recognition and product awareness, small developers have a much harder time getting their apps noticed, as consumers increasingly turn to recommendations and advertising to make their selections.

Gartner predicts that by 2017, 94.5 percent of apps will be free or freemium, suggesting that advertising and in-app purchases will become an increasingly important source of income. The company also expects browser-based apps to grow in popularity as the HTML5 standard matures.

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9 Responses to “Fewer than 0.01 percent of mobile apps will be financially successful by 2018, predicts Gartner”

  1. lagax says:

    Emm, no! Nobody, neither the average consumer, nor a geek likes HTML5 apps.

    • Ben Lovejoy says:

      Not at the moment, agreed, but that’s because HTML5 is a mess at the moment.

      • lagax says:

        OK, maybe when it’s great and when we have a high speed internet connection(3G minimum) all around the world. Most people like offline contents, that’s(at least for iOS) not possible with HTML5. But we won’t have a high speed internet connection everywhere by 2018. Maybe 2030 or something, but that’s seriously too far away to speak about it.

        Also apps are a growing buissness and I, personally, like it more to pay 5$ on a good app than have to look at annoying ads all the time. I also don’t like the whole concept of In-App-Purchases, maybe because it’s a mess currently. The point I like paying and having an Ad-free, clear environment in my apps.

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        I too prefer a one-off purchase, but the net connection is almost a red-herring as I’d say the majority of my existing apps require a net connection to be useful

      • lagax says:

        Just thought of that and there’s an other problem: in the USA you have a lot of mobile high speed internet volume(if not unlimited), in most other countries(including Germany and France) you have a very limited amount(like 200 MB or something), especially as an average consumer you don’t need more currently. This will have to change if we want more cloud services to be usable(and maybe even something like you described in the article ‘Opinion: Five years from now, will we have given up all control of our technology’, great article by the way. The point is people aren’t ready for things like that to happen, I also think Apps will be sold for a long time, PC Applications have also been sold for decades now, so why should this change? I believe we are just beginning with apps, there’s so much to develop in the future, with ‘true’, apple-made, smart watches, maybe a ‘real’ TV from apple, … If apps are not selling anymore, then that’s not in the near future(resp. not 2018).

        > >

      • Ben Lovejoy says:

        Interesting – I’m in the UK and have 2GB/month 4G on my iPad and unlimited 3G data on my iPhone. I completely agree we’ll always have paid apps, just seemingly fewer of them.

  2. In a world where anyone can get any app for free, Gartner is stating the obvious don’t you think? However, when the last freemium mobile app developer goes bust and supply dries up, demand will ensure that new opportunities come around and that a reasonable price will be paid for apps (¢99 was reasonable and better model than ads and in-app-purchasing anyway). Isn’t this how every market economy works? Or am I just underestimating the scale of ad. revenues?

  3. A true techno gold-rush that app store was.