Cross-platform tools could improve app developer margins by 800m USD per year, but only a minority of developers are aware of the potential

The total addressable market for multi-platform app development is worth US $ 2.4bn in 2013. Cross-platform tools help developers to deliver their multi-platform app development projects more efficiently but most developers are not aware of this potential. The quality of apps is in most cases similar to pure native app development, as the results of the “Cross Platform Tool Benchmarking 2013”  report show.

Currently around 750,000-800,000 new apps are being published per year on major app platforms (iOs, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone).  Around 8% are rather easy multi-platform apps which wouldn’t need native app features of mobile platforms (apps that are being published on at least 2 platforms in the same year and that are not “high end“ apps). Thus 65,000 app projects could be supported by cross-platform tools. Based on an average app project size of US $ 38,000 (see “The Market for Mobile Application Development Services 2015”) the market value for these projects is US $ 2.4bn per year. Users of cross-platform tools report a significant efficiency gain of around 30% that could result in higher margins (in total US $ 800m per year) or additional app projects.

The question is why app developers don’t make use of these tools more frequently. One of the reasons is that most of the tools are simply not known. This is one of the results of the global “Cross Platform Tool Benchmarking 2013” report.

The tool market has just become so crowded that selecting the right one is a project on its own. The increasing number of CP Tools has made it difficult for new solutions to raise awareness among the app developer and publisher community. As a result, only 11 CP Tools out are known by more than 20% of the app community.

The total addressable market for multi-platform app development is worth US $ 2.4bn in 2013. Cross-platform tools could improve app developer margins by 800 million USD per year.

Adobe Air, Phone Gap, Xamarin, JQuery and Unity are among the few cross-platform tools known by the majority of app developers and publishers. Another six tools are known by around 30% of the app developer community. The great majority of cross-platform tools, however, are “hardly known” or “unknown”. This applies also for cross-platform tools that have a backing of an established IT solution vendor like IBM (Worklight) or Incross (DaVinci). More than 50 other tools are not even on the radar of app developers. All tools face a major challenge in raising awareness.

Even though developers might want to make use of these tools, their potential clients are reluctant. As a developer phrased it in research2guidance’s global survey: “Even if I know what Cross-Platform Tools are capable of doing, my clients don’t know. I would love to get some help in selling projects using these tools.”

For more information please download your free copy of the “Cross-Platform Tool Benchmarking 2013” report.

We are interested in getting your feedback on cross-platform tools. Why do you think the adoption rate is so low?

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