Mobile App Download and Revenue Growth Trends


Mobile apps are huge.  If you’re not sold on just how relevant this industry is, take a look at the stats on our infographic and read on.

In early 2008 the total worldwide revenue generated by mobile applications was exactly $0.  By 2011, just three-and-half years later, that number had risen to a staggering $5 billion.  To give you some perspective on how much that is, in that same year, Facebook, the most trafficked site on the planet, generated ‘just’ $3.78 billion in revenue.

While a comparison of revenue tells us how much money has been generated by apps, examining the trend in growth tells us a little more about where the industry has evolved from, and what expectations we should have about future growth. 

At the start of 2011, Nielsen, one of the foremost media measurement and analysis companies, estimated that by the year end, there would be nearly 18 billion mobile app downloads across all platforms, having just come out of 2010 with a worldwide app download volume of 8 billion.  With Nielsen’s projected 125% increase in download volume, many media outlets speculated that the data analysis company’s figures were inflated, with some projecting closer to 100% on the higher side.  At ISBX we remember these figures very well, as we too, touted the growth of the mobile app market, with perhaps a slight insecurity about these “forecasted” growth figures.  However, by the end of 2011, the actual download figure topped a mind-blowing 25 billion, a 225% increase from the year prior, silencing all critics.

For us at ISBX, we use these statistics to help inform businesses about the potential for increased sales revenue when using mobile apps as a way of handling purchases.  In 2009, just 4.5% of smartphone users were using their phones to make in-app purchases.  Today nearly one-quarter of smartphone users are buying products and effecting transactions directly through apps.

This year was also the first year that smartphone sales surpassed feature phone sales (non-smartphones for the layman), a rather impressive feat, when considering the price premium on a smartphone.  This helps us draw some assumptions about the minimum expectations of the average mobile phone user.  With over one billion of these devices in distribution, it’s hard to ignore one of the fastest growing markets, and the potential for revenue for small and large businesses alike.  The next time you’re swiping away on your phone, perhaps you’ll appreciate just how big those little app icons are.


Nielsen Online

App Developers Alliance

“The Mobile Movement Study,” Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT

“Saving Time and Money with Mobile Apps,” SBE Council