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Why tablets are set to drive the $27 billion app market so much higher

by David Needle

June 25 2013

Already a huge market, a new report says the mobile app market has a very bright future as both vendors and users start to realize the full potential of tablets.

For 2013 ABI Research projects a whopping $27 billion value on the mobile app market. 

This comes as a number of factors are set to drive the app market’s value even higher, with Apple expected to have no trouble sustaining its substantial lead through at least all of next year.

The clear leaders from an operating system perspective are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, but BlackBerry and Windows are slowly augmenting their apps catalogue. 

“iOS continues to lead the way, and the OS is projected to generate over two-thirds of the revenues for smartphone and tablet apps in 2013,” says ABI Research senior analyst Josh Flood. 

“Although Google’s Android OS recently surpassed Apple in terms of total app numbers, iOS users continue to prove they’re more willing to depart with their cash. The revenue gap between the two leading OSes looks unlikely to close over the next 18 months.”

Tablets will overtake smartphones in 2017

The research firm also points out that so far app revenues generated from smartphones are much greater than revenue from tablets. But that should start to change in the next few years. ABI Research expects tablet app revenues will overtake smartphones by 2017. 

(App discovery and how developers can generate more app revenue will be among the key topics discussed at the Tablet Ecosystem conference in San Francisco, September 12). 

Tablet sales will increase as the industry’s price war continues, but it’s not just the  number of devices that will boost app revenue on tablets. ABI points out tablet users are willing to pay more for apps than for their smartphones because of the larger screen size. 

While not as mobile, the tablet’s bigger screen offers a better user experience and ABI says app sales are being driven by such as activities as gaming and reading. 

Also, a growing number of business apps, including Office-compatible apps, continue to emerge aimed at making tablets more useful as productivity devices and viable alternatives to bulkier notebooks. 

David Needle is Editor of TabTimes and based in Silicon Valley
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