Less than 0.01 per cent of consumer mobile apps will make enough money to be considered successful by their makers.
That statistic was released by Gartner this morning, after considering the potential of the range of consumer mobile apps through to 2018 as part of its worldwide mobility market forecast for 2014.
Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said: "Our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits, and that many mobile apps are not designed to generate revenue but rather are used to build brand recognition and product awareness or are just for fun.
"Application designers who do not recognise this may find profits elusive."
Dulaney pointed out that the vast number of mobile apps out there may suggest to some – mistakenly – that such apps could be a new revenue stream that will bring riches to a large number of vendors and developers.
The "hyperactivity" of the mobile app market did not correspond with the profit potential, he warned, and consumers tended to follow personal recommendations or advertising rather than sorting through the thousands of options available.
More than 200 vendors are developing mobile application development platforms, and there are "millions" of developers using them, and other tools, to build mobile apps.
"In addition, the bounty of good, free mobile apps has set high expectations for what should be paid for," he said.
"Gartner is forecasting that by 2017, 94.5 per cent of downloads will be for free apps. Furthermore, of paid applications, about 90 per cent are downloaded fewer than 500 times per day and make less than $1,250 (£760) a day."
In future, there would be even more competition, which would only exacerbate the situation, he predicted.
Other mobile market predictions
Gartner also noted that 20 per cent of enterprise BYOD programmes will fail over the next two years because their mobile device management deployments would be too restrictive.
"Whether via formal BYOD programmes, or just via devices coming in the back door and being configured to access corporate systems, the use of consumer technologies in the work environment presents a threat to IT control of end-point computing resources," Dulaney said.
Just look at the way IT departments had moved to control employee PCs by developing and deploying images to PCs that were also managed by the company, he noted.
"Given the control that IT has exercised over PCs by developing and deploying images to company-managed PCs, many IT organisations will implement strong controls for mobile devices."
As BYOD programmes proliferate, employees were becoming aware that IT organisations could access their personal information and, as a result, employees were demanding that personal content be properly isolated from company content.
"Although more than 100 'platform-independent' development tools exist, most involve technical or commercial compromises, such as lock-in to relatively niche technologies and small vendors," he said.
"This will drive increasing interest in HTML5 as a somewhat standardised, widely available, platform-neutral delivery technology."
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