[Updated June 23 at 12:27 p.m. to correct the year of App Annie’s revenue forecast.]
Following three major developers’ conferences in recent months, we heard and saw some very different visions for the role that apps may play.
There was Facebook talking up chatbots as a way to move to a post-app world. There was Google, unveiling a suite of apps of its own with deeper artificial intelligence integration. And then there was Apple, opening up the possibilities of subscriptions while also giving developers greater access to platform tools like Siri.
Getting paid: App Annie forecasts that apps (primarily via the Apple App Store and Google Play) will generate $50 billion in gross revenue in 2016.
Location: The Asian app market is twice as big as big the U.S. app market. Both are expected to double in the next few years, but that means the gap between Asia and the U.S. will continue to grow.
Video: Last year turned out to be a breakout year for video streaming apps. In this case, we’re talking about big players like Netflix and HBO Now. The revenue driven by these apps increased four times last year, demonstrating that users were ready to make their smartphone or tablet their first screen.
Gaming: Europe continues to be the center of gaming apps. Just last month, Nu said that six of the 10 top gaming apps were from Europe, including three from France.
Bots: Nu said chatbots are an interesting new development, but as App Annie’s numbers indicate, they’re not expected to replace or even slow down app growth. Rather, in the short term, he expected chatbots would be “accretive,” meaning they would be used in addition to apps and that any money they generated would be on top of current app revenues.