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Mobile app market continues its meteoric rise: report

Consumers are still hungry for applications and mobile content as evidenced by the quick growth in the developer community in the past 18 months, according to new research from Flurry.

The research reveals that the number of app starts has nearly doubled since the beginning of 2012. At the same time, the number of independently-owned app developers that have a worldwide audience of more than 20 million monthly active users is up 357 percent over the past 18 months from 7 to 32.

?The most surprising finding is that the rate of new apps being created is accelerating,? said Simon Khalaf, CEO of Flurry, San Francisco. ?You would expect it to be flat. The rate itself has doubled year over year.

?Nothing seems to indicate a slowdown, every indicator is up and to the right,? he said. ?It seems that we will continue to be in fast growth mode for at least 18 months.?

App happy
Mobile content delivered via applications is exploding, driven by consumers who are enthusiastically embracing gaming, utility and messaging apps, according to Flurry.

Watching how consumers are embracing apps, developers are building more mobile apps with the hopes of reaching these enthusiastic users.

Flurry considers app starts on its platform as a leading indicator of the app economy's health, as these apps will be listed on app stores in a couple of months.

The number of app starts has been increasing every quarter in the past 18 months, going from just under 20,000 in the first quarter of 2012 to more than 35,000 in the third quarter of this year.

The numbers also suggests there is an opportunity for apps beyond the just the big guys such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

For example, the number of app developers with an audience of over 1 million monthly active users has risen from just under 400 to 875, an increase of 121 percent.

Organic growth
According to Flurry, much of the growth in app development has been organic and is not the result of consolidation or through mergers and acquisitions.

In fact, the market, its reach and the time spent on mobile is still dominated by mid-tail developers and content owners.

The potential in mobile apps is not lost on big companies. FOr example, Softbank Capital make a $1.5 billion investment in developer Supercell in October.

?To developers, there is simply still so much white space out there for their applications,? Mr. Khalaf said. ?There are 1.2 billion devices out there and such a diversified audience, so their chances of getting a million people to like it are still high.

?To marketers, it continues to mean that they can reach a large audience ? similar to TV ? on mobile,? he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York