The UK has been quick in adopting smartphones, tablets and apps with smartphone penetration expected to reach 74% by the end of 2014. But beyond the benefits that one can derive from using apps, there are potentially much bigger benefits in creating apps, or creating an app industry for that matter.
We’re happy to present our new research report, charting the mobile app economy in the region, investigating revenues, jobs, the profile of the British app developer, and how the UK can provide better opportunities for developers (you can download the full report here).
VisionMobile set out to assess the state of the UK app industry in 2014 and find out whether the UK is on the right track to becoming a vibrant and global hub for the app economy. Our findings are based on our Developer Economics survey series (our 7th edition reaching over 10,000 app developers) and a UK App Developer Census survey of over 300 developers across the country.
We estimate the UK app industry will exceed £4 billion in revenues in 2014 and will be growing at a CAGR of 38% between 2013 and 2015 and 22% between 2013 and 2025. The UK has approximately 8,000 companies that are directly involved in app development and approximately 380,000 jobs centred around the app economy. We expect that approximately 30,000 new jobs will be created in the in the next 12 months.
Most of the UK app industry is concentrated around Greater London, which is home to 31% of UK app companies while the South East hosts another 24% of app companies. There are several app startup hubs located in Brighton, Cambridge, Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh, however these are much smaller in scale than London.
The UK is certainly among the top global tech hubs with several metrics indicating that it is in fact the biggest tech hub in Europe and most likely the second most important tech hub after the US. In 2013 the UK accounted for over a third of the total app revenues generated in EU28 and slightly less than a fifth of all app developers in the EU28.
The UK app economy attracts developers & designers across all ages, from teenagers to 65+ year olds, with 4% being 17 years old or younger. Female app developers or designers account for just 8% of the developer/designer population.
44% of app developers and designers in the UK generate most of their income from apps, while 22% generate no income from apps. These are most likely Hobbyists and Explorers for who app revenues is not the primary goal, or early stage startups that have yet to monetise their products. The average salary of developers and designers that generate all their income through apps is £47,000, which is well above UK average salaries.
83% of app developers and designers are self-taught and only 7% have attended a Bootcamp or other taught course. This indicates a gap in the market for affordable training for app developers.
Overall, app developers and designers are pleased with career prospects, flexibility, income and work life balance. But they are quite critical of the UK as a technology hub and the support it provides, highlighting gaps in training and mentoring, funding, industry presence and support, particularly outside of London.
The UK has gathered a lot of momentum in the past two years and the government has been visibly supportive of the startup economy, introducing several incentives and investment in infrastructure. However, there are several areas where more work needs to be done in order to sustain this momentum: continuing tax incentives, providing affordable training, even at an early age, cutting the red tape for fledging startups, educating entrepreneurs about funding resources and support schemes. Industry must also strengthen its support in these areas and confirm this support through developer events across the UK.
Looking for more insights? Download the full report for free!