Developer Economics Q1 2014: State of the Developer Nation

...the de-facto research series tracking the trends in the app economy

February 2014

Developer Economics Q1 2014: State of the Developer Nation

...the de-facto research series tracking the trends in the app economy

February 2014

The 6th edition of our ongoing Developer Economics series presents the latest trends in app development, based on our survey of over 7,000 developers. The report features in-depth analysis and insights into the key issues in the app economy, including platform prioritisation, going beyond tablets, trending revenue models, and making the right choices in developer tools.

[UPDATE: We have released a newer version of the report for Q3 2014 - free download here]

The State of the Developer Nation report contains data and insights on the leading mobile platforms (Android, BlackBerry 10, HTML5, iOS, Windows Phone and Windows 8), comparing them across key metrics, such as Developer Mindshare, revenue opportunities, prioritisation across regions, adoption criteria, use of third-party tools, and most popular app revenue models.

Our Collaborators

Graphs

Mobile Developer Mindshare Q1 2014

Android continues to dominate Developer Mindshare with 71% of developers that target mobile platforms, developing for Android. Apple's iOS comes as a distant second at 55% of global app Developer Mindshare.

Contract development is the highest grossing direct revenue model for mobile developers

Contract development was responsible for 56% of the app economy in 2013, as we found in our App Economy Forecasts report. More importantly, contract development is now the most popular revenue model, with 26% of app developers currently developing apps on commission.

Developer Tools and Services Tracker

User analytics and cross platform tools are the two most popular developer tool categories, used by 40% and 30% of all app developers, respectively.

Connected Device Mindshare, Q1 2014

In terms of developer revenues per capita, iOS maintains its momentous gap with median revenues between $500 and $1000 per app / month, much higher than the median revenues of Android developers ($100 - $200 per app / month). As Android continues to grow in mid- and low-end handset segments, we don’t see the revenues for Android developers catching up with iOS anytime soon.

For Most Developer iOS Continues to Pay Better

Tablets are very much a “companion” development option; tablets attract 83% of app developers but just 12% of developers target tablets as their primary development screen.

Despite the flood of Android tablet sales, 52% of app developers that mainly target tablets, prioritise iOS, with Android coming in a distant second at 28% of app developers.

Key Insights

  • The global app economy was worth $68 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow to $143 billion in 2016.
  • Android continues to dominate Developer Mindshare with 71% of developers that target mobile platforms, developing for Android
  • Apple's iOS comes as a distant second at 55% of global app Developer Mindshare. iOS is strong in Europe and North America, but takes third position behind HTML5 in South Asia, South America and Middle East & Africa
  • HTML5 is both an app deployment platform (on-browser) and a technology for creating native apps (off-browser). 37% of mobile developers use HTML5 as a platform, i.e. to develop mobile websites, or web-apps
  • iOS commands the most loyal developers with 59% of developers that target iOS prioritising it over any other platform
  • iOS is the preferred platform for developers in North America and Western Europe while Android wins in every other region
  • Tablets attract 83% of app developers but just 12% of developers target tablets as their primary development screen.
  • 60% of developers are below the “app poverty line”, i.e. earn less than $500 per app per month
  • Among developers that generate $500 - $10K per app per month, 37% prioritise iOS vs. 25% Android
  • In-app advertising remains one of most popular revenue models at 26% of app developers, particularly strong on platforms where demand for direct purchases is weak, such as Windows Phone and Android
  • Contract development is now the most popular revenue model, with 26% of app developers currently developing apps on commission
  • User analytics and cross platform tools are the two most popular developer tool categories, used by 40% and 30% of all app developers, respectively

Table of contents

  • 1: A $68 billion app economy
    • 1.1 Methodology
  • 2: Platform winners and losers
    • 2.1 Platform developments
    • 2.2 Regional outlook
  • 3: The shoot-out: developer priorities and platform loyalty
    • 3.1 Getting your priorities straight
    • 3.2 What’s your companion platform?
    • 3.3 A question of platform loyalty
    • 3.4 The long tail of screens
    • 3.5 The king of tablets
  • 4: Where’s the money?
    • 4.1 Apps as a product vs. apps as a channel
    • 4.2 Revenues reveal class inequalities
  • 5: Developer tools: better, faster, more
    • 5.1 What goes in the SDK box

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