In 2016, the global mobile internet user penetration has exceeded half the world’s population, while the average daily time spent accessing online content from a mobile device, such as a smartphone, a tablet computer or wearable, has reached 185 minutes daily among Millennials, 110 minutes for Generation X and 43 daily minutes for Boomers. Accounting for this popularity is also the growing creation and use of mobile apps, from gaming to fitness over mobile messengers to animation software. Currently, the two largest global platforms for app distribution are Apple’s App Store, which caters to iOS users, and Google Play, belonging to the eponymous company, which is the official app store for the Android OS.
The fact that mobile apps are relatively easier to create than computer apps, as well as their considerable lower price has translated into a growing industry which produces every year more and more. In fact, it is impossible to know exactly how many apps are there, but as of March 2017 there were some 2.8 million apps in Google Play alone, 200 thousand more than in December of the preceding year. The Apple Store, on the other hand, had gone from 800 apps the month of its launch in July 2008 to 2.2 million in January 2017. Apple estimates that by September 2016, apps from the Apple App Store were downloaded a cumulative 140 billion times. However, 2016 datas show that many downloaded apps are not used more than once in the first six months. The most popular Apple App Store category is gaming with about 25 percent of available apps belonging to this category.
Applications generate revenue in a number of different ways, such as charging users a small amount of money for the use of an app (an average of 1.02 U.S. dollars per app in the Apple Store), charging for access to premium features of an otherwise free app or simply selling ad space. Global consumer spending on mobile gaming apps is set to reach 105.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2021.