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App Downloads Will Double in Next Four Years

Users most likely to find new mobile apps by browsing app store

Greater app choices may be a boon for consumers, but the massive inventory has made it harder for marketers to build a large base of active users. More so than ever, achieving this goal requires a multifaceted marketing plan, according to a new eMarketer report, “Mobile App Marketing: 10 Tactics Used by Successful App Marketers.”

Between the two leading app stores—Apple’s App Store and Google Play—mobile users literally have millions of apps to choose from. In May 2013, Google announced 1 million apps and games were available in Google Play, a 43% increase from 700,000 in October 2012. Apple reached the 1 million milestone in October 2013, and while its growth was slower than Google’s, the increase in available apps was equally significant (43% over October 2012).

Even though download numbers fluctuate on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, research firms projected the annual total would increase substantially in the coming years as smartphone and tablet usage grows worldwide. Portio Research estimated the number of annual downloads would top 200 billion in 2017—two-and-a-half times 2013’s 82 billion. Juniper Research forecast the number of downloads worldwide would double in the span of four years, rising from 80 billion to 160 billion between 2013 and 2017.

By a large margin, browsing the app store is the most common method consumers use to find new apps. In March 2013 polling, InMobi found that just over half (55%) of US smartphone users typically browsed the app store to find new mobile apps. Roughly one in three sought out apps that were personally recommended to them. In terms of frequency, nearly one in four searched for new apps daily, and a similar share (26%) hunted for new apps weekly.

Social media played a smaller, but still significant, role in app discovery: Roughly one in five respondents credited social sites like Facebook and Twitter for helping them discover new apps. In addition, Forrester Research found that between 14% and 16% of mobile phone users discovered apps through web-based search queries, and a slightly larger share (15% to 19%) discovered apps through social networks.


The full report, “Mobile App Marketing: 10 Tactics Used by Successful App Marketers,” also answers these key questions:

  • How big has the app marketplace become?
  • How widely used are smartphone and tablet apps?
  • What tactics are successful marketers using to attract and retain more app users?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.

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