Why The App Store Isn’t As Saturated As You Think

With over 2 million apps now present on the App Store, I have seen numerous articles claiming that the glory days of the App Store are over: the app market has become too saturated and is dominated only by the big players. I think this is all utter BS.

While there’s no denying that the App Store has over 2 million apps, there’s a major keyword missing from this statistic — does the App Store have 2 million unique apps? The answer to that is No. The market is just flooded with hundreds of thousands of clone apps, all trying to imitate the success of a popular app that’s on the top charts. I have seen this phenomenon happening personally with one of my apps, and I continue to hear about this from my friends, other developers and so on. Want to see it for yourself? Just search ‘Flappy Bird’ on the App Store, scroll as far as you can, and notice that each one of them is a rip-off. Rinse and repeat for any other famous app you like.

Still, the other point that stands is that the App Store is “dominated by the big players with huge amounts to spend on advertisement”. I think people somehow fail to understand that the big players don’t magically produce hit apps using just their advertisement budget — if it’s not a quality product, consumers will notice sooner or later. The famous apps are famous because they provide value to their customers, and just work. If advertisement alone was responsible for a product’s success, Apple’s marketing budget would have been 70% of the revenue, not 7%.

Case in Point : Six Months Ago, I launched a simple app on the App Store named Watchimise with one of my friends. We uploaded it with no expectations, and just focused on building a quality product targeting something that we were frustrated with ourselves — the lack of minimalistic watch faces for the Apple Watch. As soon as the app came live, we did the usual: send links to family and friends, post on our social medias, and publish it on Product Hunt. We were shocked to find it on the front page of Product Hunt the next day, but, in hindsight, it was because we built something that a lot of people liked and wanted to have. The downloads continued to roll in and this month we just crossed the 15,000 mark — all without spending a penny on advertisement.

Another interesting point that is often raised is that people just don’t download as much apps anymore. While that is partially true, it can also be said that now only quality apps are being downloaded by the consumers — simply because they are well informed as compared to the beginning of the App Store. Recently, Apple announced that it has paid over $100 billion to developers till now. However, the important thing to notice here is that 1/3 of that payment (roughly ~$33 Billion) came in the recent year alone, which means app purchases are on an exponential rise, and not on stabilising or declining.

What am I trying to achieve here? To apprise you to not be discouraged by competition, statistics, and to not get swayed by the general opinion. Keep experimenting and coming up with unique ideas that you think people will like. However, most importantly : Keep Building 🛠.

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