Even with the global economic recession, the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) market has been growing at a healthy rate over the past few years. This growth is being driven in large part by customers’ need to reduce total cost of ownership. This provides plenty of opportunity for software vendors to deliver customer value.
A recent Gartner study showed the SaaS market still growing at a very healthy 20% rate from 2010 to 2011, reaching $12 Billion in 2011, with North America about two thirds of that, and growing to over $20 Billion by 2015. Forrester Research is even more optimistic, putting the global SaaS market size at $21 Billion in 2011, with projections to grow to over $90 Billion by 2016.
A study last year by InformationWeek Analytics found about 60% of companies are using SaaS solutions today.
Currently, the leading platforms for mobile app developers are iPhone and iPad (ie, iOS devices) and Android smartphones and tablets. As a developer of mobile apps, do you choose one platform to focus your app development efforts on, or do you support both? And what about the other mobile platforms such as Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, and BlackBerry?
In making that decision, do you look at which platform has the largest installed base? Or do you go by which platform is currently shipping the largest volume of units? Or what about which platform has the highest overall in-app usage time? The answers vary drastically depending on how you frame the question.
Most of the published data on mobile share focuses on platform market share, which shows a rapid increase of Android compared to iOS. However, an article published by Business Insider in March instead considered the amount of actual time spent online as a proxy for app usage, which paints a very different picture with iOS clearly dominating.
At first glance, this type of data may give a developer of mobile apps pause: Should one be prioritizing an Android version over iOS or vice versa?
With all the talk of platform market share, what many of us forget is that the relevant question is the market share of mobile app usage time. After all, that is what users will ultimately pay the app developer for. Silicon Alley Insider’s chart of the day from March 13 2012 instead tells the real story of Android versus iOS.
The chart from ComScore shows the digital traffic market share of connected devices by OS in the US – it’s a very different story than what’s told by the device platform market share where Android shipments are now dominating. When you look at it by digital traffic – the actual mobile Web usage – the picture changes, with iOS dominating at 60% and Android far behind at only 32%. Similarly, Net Applications finds iOS has a 4.4x larger web share than Android. On top of that, a number of studies have also found that iOS users are much more likely to pay for apps or make in-app purchases. On average, developers make 6x more on iOS apps for the equivalent app.
This data seems to clearly indicate that the first platform of choice for a mobile app should still be iOS.
So if you develop mobile apps, what choices do you make? Please vote in our poll: