Why Apple’s App Store is good business for your enterprise

The number of App Store millionaires doubled in 2016

New information from Sensor Tower confirms that whether you’re developing apps for consumers, or if app development for others is your business, Apple’s App Store is a good place to do business.

Millionaire class

The data shows that at least 69 iOS developers managed to make their first million-dollars in app revenue last year, and that’s just on the U.S. App Store. In fact, despite a smaller relative market share in comparison with Android, the store created almost twice as many millionaires in 2016.

“In all, 66 publishers met or surpassed this benchmark figure on Apple’s store in 2016, which was 1.7 times more than the 39 that managed the same degree of success on Google’s platform,” Sensor Tower said.

Not only this, but the number of publishers breaking that million-dollar mark was almost double the throng who did so in 2015, when 34 developers achieved the target. (Android saw some growth, from 14 to 39, suggesting the platform is edging slowly toward profitability).

This is not a game

What is also interesting about this data (which is based solely on app revenue, without advertising income) is the diversity of apps categories that are driving success on iOS.

You see, while game publishers “accounted for the single largest category of first-time million-dollar earners across both platforms”, Apple has also seen developers of utilities, photo and video, social networking, and lifestyle apps achieve this target.

This means its platforms are becoming capable of supporting a much more mature selection of solutions.

So what?

What does this mean for enterprise IT? It means iOS users are already far more open to engaging with sophisticated solutions on their platforms.

There are at least two reasons that’s great news if you’re a big firm standardizing around Apple’s mobile solutions:

  • It means on-boarding staff to your systems will be less challenging, as those new hires are already familiar with using them for more complex tasks.
  • It suggests investment in developing apps for the iOS platform will likely work in the long-term, given growing consumer buy-in for apps and services on that platform.

Acceptance, loyalty and familiarity with the inherent technologies will drive significant benefits to employee productivity as CIOs attempt to evangelize use of digital business processes.

Marketing communications

Sensor Tower’s findings also bode well for enterprises wishing to open up multichannel communications with customers. There are quite clearly some excellent sponsorship/marketing opportunities available to firms that are prepared to think tangentially about what they do.

One of the earliest examples of brand-led sponsorship of an at the time compelling app was iPint, sponsored by Carling. This amusing app let iPhone users pretend to pour and drink a pint of lager beer. More recently, we’ve seen apps appear that push the envelope in terms of branding and utility. L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius was a great example of how brands can create relatively useful apps that bond well with their brand identity.

News that iOS consumers are prepared to spend millions of dollars on utility and productivity apps means brands that can provide authentically useful digital productivity solutions could help build improved brand recognition and loyalty.

Imagine something like Happy Magenta’s Spyglass app being made available for free by a leading outdoor equipment manufacturer, or SketchAR if sponsored by an arts equipment maker. Enabling brands to create branded apps as a service in this way is already part of the core business for firms like Blippar.

Developers, developers, developers

The big obstacle facing almost anyone in the fast rush to digital remains access to human resources. The best developers are over-subscribed and the biggest tech firms are recruiting as many of the best as they can reach. The current U.S. administration has its own problems with tech-related immigration, and the world’s biggest tech firms are creating research centers worldwide.

Apple is attempting to create new generations of developers with its new Developer Academy in Naples, Italy, where it is currently recruiting a new intake of students.

The company also recently introduced a complete college-level course, App Development with Swift.

Perhaps even more telling: Sir Jony Ive is now chancellor at one of the world’s most well-known art and design academies (the RCA). Ive will help the RCA expand its knowledge of computer and materials science, the impact of the digital economy, advanced manufacturing and intelligent mobility.

Long-term stability

That’s great from the point of view of educating tomorrow’s developers, but it’s also good for enterprise users who now know that Apple is investing deeply to ensure its ecosystem has the breadth of talent it needs in order to maintain for at least the next 10 years.

Sponsorship of expensive educational schemes shows a tangible commitment to nurturing tomorrow’s tech talent. This in itself is a strong suggestion that Apple’s vision for the future extends further than the introduction of its next iPhone. Which bodes well for enterprise users pondering big investment in the Apple ecosystem.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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