6 reasons why mobile apps will become as important for companies as corporate websites

Mobile apps have been around for some time and there is a lot of hype around the developing market. But how sustainable is this development, and where does it lead? In summary, our analysis shows that apps will eventually be as important for companies as web pages are today.

The main drivers:

What are the reasons for this optimistic view? Here are just six reasons why we think that apps will become as important as Websites to companies in the next years:


1. Ubiquity of smartphones: Smartphones will increasingly replace feature phones in stores. Nearly everyone will be able to use smartphone apps, not just – as of now – business people, social networkers and gamers. The main driver will be a reduction in handset prices, which will decrease to 100 Euro for most starter devices.

2. Manifoldness of possibilities: Smartphones are small computers which are becoming more and more powerful. They will be suitable for an increasing number of tasks which have previously been restricted to laptops or desktops. Today smartphone apps are used by companies to promote their brand or product, or to provide access to their existing products. In the future we will see a lot more use-cases, e.g. new products enabled by apps, mobile health, mobile selling, or apps which help to improve working efficiency within a company.

3. Ubiquity of app stores: For the foreseeable future, Smartphones will always depend on the app store. If you have a smartphone or advanced feature phone you will have easy and convenient access to the world of apps.

4. Unmatched user-experience: Apps offer a user-experience which mobile Websites or widgets are unable to provide.

5. Proximity to customers: Mobile devices, especially Smartphones, are much more personal and intimate devices than a laptop or desktop device. For most users their phones are never further than 1 meter away 24/7. Imagine how attractive it is for consumer goods, food, and myriad other companies across the economy to be able to place their products and services so close to consumers.

6. Better visibility: Although there is a lot of clamor about the discoverability of apps, especially in the Apple App Store, standing out among 140,000 apps is much easier than being found amongst millions of websites. In addition, these distribution platforms are stores, and unlike the web or its search engines, they are designed to sell and present products. Cross-selling and promotions are components of their core features. The new geneneration of app stores make it easier than ever before to be in the forefront of millions of potential customers’ minds.

Although there is still a long way to go before many companies learn how to benefit from and how to engage in this exciting new market, but it won’t take long before it becomes standard business practice, especially for media, consumer goods, automotive, and food companies to communicate with their customers via an app. This applies especially to the Western and Asian countries with high smartphone shipment rates but will also impact emerging markets with a short time-delay.

See our Global Smartphone Application Market Report 2010 for a detailed analysis of the world-wide app market.

Post edit: There are cross platform app developement tools which are specifically designed for enterprise apps.
Download the free report: Cross Platform Tool Benchmarking 2013” for more infos.

This post currently has 13 responses.

  1. As a mobile user experience company, we see #4 as being a deterrent to a company solely having their companies presence on an App. Games are great examples of unmatched Mobile UX, but compared to a branded experience where a user is required to purchase or create a transaction, we see a difference in users habits. Apps create a distraction to a direct and consistent mobile user experience. If I were to reword #4 I would say Apps bring “Unmatched interaction”.

    Follow our mobile user experience blog at http://www.marlinmobile.com/blog

  2. rene witjes says:

    Great story it covers exactly what we as a mobile application and mobile internet provider are telling. Good to see that it is backed with independent research. Would like to have your opinion on Mobile applications versus Browser applications using HTML 5 and compare it with our vision.

  3. Brian Fluhr says:

    I have some different thoughts on mobile apps – while I do believe mobile should be part of a company’s integrated marketing plan, I am not sold that it must be in the shape of an app. A mobile web site can reach many more people and offer most if not all of the functionality that most all businesses need to offer in a mobile experience. As for point 6. Better Visibility – I don’t see that at all. It is very hard to stand out in the Apple App Store – and even if you are in the Apple store, you still need to bring your brand to the Android Marketplace and whatever other application stores that will be popping up no doubt. My money is on mobile – just not mobile apps for most companies.

  4. Greg York says:

    It will be interesting to see if the arc of client side app to server side app will be traced in mobile like it has in most other domains.

  5. Dick Wurst says:

    While this research delivers important support for the consumer side of the mobile apps business (and there are certainly overwhelmingly more consumer subscribers than business subscribers), It is likely that the greatest penetration of subscriber base for mobile apps
    will be the efficiency/productivity/revenue support of businesses ranging from sole practitioners who can access/deliver their services anytime, anywhere to the largest enterprises with the most data to be mined and used.

    I’m not opposed to cute little apps that morph my smartphone taken pics or use my gps to tell my friends where I am… but more interested in how the integration of that smartphone functionality into back-end systems for everything from expediting insurance claims to securely accessing medical records to ensuring corporate compliance to preventing a “no-fly” listed passenger from boarding a flight.

  6. Ralf Jahns says:

    @Dick: We support the idea of more and more companies are using Smartphone apps to improve efficiency, productivity, to create new business areas.
    There are some evidence that companies are starting to see the potential e.g. Apple’s iPhone has plenty of traction in the enterprise market and in some cases is replacing a laptop purchase. At&T reported that they sell 4 out of 10 iPhones to enterprises.
    We see this as a phase where companies get familiar with the possibilities before they start the exploitation phase in 1-2 years.
    We are currently analysing various industries on their smartphone app business potentials and are very positive about some industry sectors eg. mobile banking, paid mobile publishing, mobile logistics and mobile health.
    we keep you updated

  7. There is a great need for standardization and customization in this industry. Currently, the mobile app developers range from curious teenagers to some large technology companies, there are so many different handsets out in the market, but there are hardly any standards in place for mobile applications.

    I see mobile application porting and testing services growing at a greater rate than the mobile application development itself.

  8. Kim Rothgulf says:

    Thank you for the article! I had to write a paper on the importance of mobile applications and what you wrote proved to be very useful! Thanks again!

    @Durgesh I don’t agree with standardization because that would limit the possibilities of novelty and customization!

  9. What a post!! Very informative and easy to understand. Looking for more such posts!! Do you have a myspace?

  10. Jimmie Baj says:

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  11. Sam says:

    let me add that mob apps could communicate with the company’s main server via sms while browse apps needed inet connectivity always.. thats a major adv. for mob apps.

  12. vlad says:

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