Technology Apple App Store

App Store will double in size to 5m apps by 2020 - Apple faces a growing discovery problem


By John McCarthy | Opinion editor

August 15, 2016 | 3 min read

Apple’s App Store is primed to swell with apps in the next four years according to app research group Sensor Tower.


The group's research states that by 2020, there will be five million apps on the digital storefront, that will be beneficial to Apple’s coffers but will see an exacerbation of the store’s discovery issue.

The app ecosystem has grown almost exponentially since its inception in 2008 where it recorded a mere 5,000 apps by the end of its opening year. The store pulled through 2015 into 2016 with 1.75m apps and is projected to hit 2.93m one year later.

App Store 1

From 2016 to 2020, the volume of services on the App Store is estimated to grow by 75 per cent to 5.06m.

In 2016, gaming remains the dominant category by a factor of 10; education, entertainment and business follow way behind.

App store 2

Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at Sensor Tower, said: "It’s clear from the difficulty developers are having getting their apps discovered on a store containing roughly 2 million apps that some significant steps on Apple’s part will be required to make discoverability viable when there are more than twice that number to contend with.

“We’ve seen the first steps on Apple’s part to address discoverability issues, such launching new categories and announcing plans for Search Ads in advance of June’s WWDC. But in light of our new findings, we’re convinced that far more significant changes to the navigation, curation, and overall presentation of the App Store will be needed to support an ecosystem that’s twice today’s size just four years from now.”

One possible solution the company is eyeing up to solve the discoverability issue is a Google-style paid-for search model that will help developers cut through the chaff.

Technology Apple App Store

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