Urban Airship 2010 Mobile App Developer Survey Results

We’re excited to share the results of the Urban Airship 2010 Mobile App Developer Survey we did at the end of December. While some of the findings may be obvious, some surprised even us – not easy, given that we talk to developers all the time in our line of work.

The No. 1 takeaway from the results, for me, is that 2011 will be about mobile strategies affecting the bottom line. Developers are looking for ways to measure success of their apps and for ways to monetize over time. As I mentioned to Robert Scoble in our recent chat about the mobile market, I’m predicting huge growth for in-app purchase in the coming year, especially once it becomes available on Android. Looks like you agree — according to the developers in the survey, implementations of in app purchase will jump from 8% in 2010 to 31% in 2011. In-app purchase continues to be a huge driver of revenue over time, and we believe 2011 will only continue that trend.

In the past year, we’ve seen apps get great traction initially, with huge download numbers, but then wane after that. All the more validation that the freemium model may just be the golden ticket. We were really interested in the GigaOM post about the freemium model coming into its own with over 30% of app store revenue coming from the 1.34% of apps that have in-app purchase enabled.

iOS and Android continue to dominate and while it appears to be a two-horse race, we do see a few platforms nipping at their heels. One of the biggest surprises was the increased interest in Windows Phone 7. Our own work here at Urban Airship around the platform have left us very interested in developing for the platform and developers are echoing that sentiment. Microsoft appears to be executing well on a strategy of declaring platform bankruptcy and starting from scratch. Mobile is just getting started and having a platform with little/no baggage is going to pay dividends for them in 2011.

BlackBerry will see increased usage of their platform and their foray into the tablet space could be interesting. The biggest concern we have seen is with their platform complexity for developers. It’s hard to use BlackBerry solutions and make them work across a complicated matrix of software versions and devices. Nokia is in a similar space; the efforts around MeeGo have yet to reveal the fruits of their labor.

Most telling however is the report from Gartner Research on Q3 ’10 smartphone sales. Although RIM and Nokia saw 50% increases in growth (total shipments over a year earlier), they lost serious market share to Apple and Android. Our survey shows developers are seeing this and acting accordingly.

All app success is driven by a need to manage your installed base and the content or messaging being delivered to those apps. Mobile stands to be significantly more disruptive to more industries and verticals than the PC or web ever were. If you aren’t working on your mobile strategy, you can be sure that your competitors are.

Thanks to all you who participated in the survey. We’re really excited about what 2011 is going to bring and we’ll be here with new features and services that help developers succeed with their mobile strategies.


Download the report here