The app market for feature phones will almost double in revenue by 2016, according to a new report from Ovum. It expects revenue from feature phone applications to reach $1 billion within the next five years.
The report, entitled ‘Opportunities for Mobile Development in the Mass Market’, notes that the feature phone apps market hasn’t yet taken off in the same way as smartphone app sales. However, it says improvements in developing and publishing feature phone apps, combined with the larger size of the market and reduced competition, offer the potential for developers to take advantage of the sector.
Nick Dillon, Ovum analyst and author of the report, said “While feature phone users vastly outnumber smartphone users, the apps market hasn’t taken off in the same way. This is largely because it has lacked the distribution channels to enable widespread adoption. However, inspired by the success of apps in the smartphone market, the options have improved drastically, with many larger handset manufacturers, operators and third parties now offering improved distribution programmes for feature phones. While addressing this market is not as easy as the smartphone market, it has the potential to be more lucrative for some developers. The larger size of the market combined with higher barriers to entry means that there is less competition than in the smartphone market.”
Ovum calculates that the number of feature phones worldwide will reach 2.3 billion in 2016. This will give them 63% of the market, compared to a 37% share for smartphones.