The app boom is not over

There’s a new wave of reporting focused on the post-app era. Recode announced “The app boom is over.” Quartz points out how most users never download any apps. Let me be very clear: The app boom is not over.

The reporting on this topic made me think of an imagined Yogi Berra quote: “Nobody downloads apps anymore, it’s too crowded.”

The $100 billion, 20 percent CAGR market

Let’s start with the facts. The real numbers are amazing —  we are in an unprecedented era of growth when it comes to revenue from apps.

Revenue is hard to manipulate because it ties back to financial filings by Google and Apple and needs to be audited.


App revenue is growing and is expected to reach $100 billion dollars by 2020. SourceApp Annie

Take app download news as an example. It talks about how app downloads have stalled by pointing out the numbers for top apps.

In truth, the newer apps like Uber, Airbnb and Snapchat are all growing fast, while, expectedly, most top apps that have been there for a while and have saturated the users, like Facebook, are not growing any more.

To use this data to point to the end of an app boom is somewhat misleading.

Never been a better time for apps

There has never been a better time to be an apps developer. Billions of users have access to cheap new smartphones, data plans are becoming available globally and the app store owners like Apple and Google are being more generous than ever.

Apple is supporting lower fees on subscription revenue —  going from 30 percent to 15 percent in year two onwards.

As a SaaS guy, let me tell you this is an amazingly insightful decision by Apple —  if most developers can be nudged to think subscriptions, in turn making consumers pay more per month, you end up with a very long-term, sticky revenue base. Even more importantly, this revenue is cheaper and results in a virtual lock-in as consumers with more subscriptions are much less likely to switch ecosystems.

Go forth and multiply — your apps.