The global Mobile App economy / Mobile Clicks 2010

Two very interesting documents were published this week, both highlighting the exponential growth and significant commercial opportunities for the global mobile app economy. And reinforcing that impression Vodafone launched Mobile Clicks 2010, looking to invest €150,000 into mobile internet start ups.

In a paper for NESTA (What’s App?) David Rowan, the editor of Wired magazine highlights the rapid increase in the potential customer base for mobile apps: “in Western Europe, 3G mobile penetration has risen from 17 per cent in 2007 to 29 per cent in 2009 and is forecast to reach 67 per cent in 2011; in Japan it is already 91 per cent.” In fact, total shipments of smartphones are forecast to be c230M in 2010, with Western Europe accounting for 20% of these.

A paper by Mediateque for the BBC, taking a broad view of the app economy, translates that device penetration into potential economic impacts: “There is large variation in revenue outputs among the various forecasts, although unsurprisingly the general consensus is one of significant market growth. These consensus forecasts suggest that total worldwide apps revenue will reach somewhere in the region of $15-20bn by 2013/14; this compares to total apps revenue of less than $5bn currently.” At the top end of that range Gartner estimates that total apps revenue will reach $30bn by 2013, with advertising revenues contributing $6.5bn of this amount.

Now in its third year Vodafone has launched Mobile Clicks 2010, a competition to identify and reward innovative mobile starts ups. Open to businesses across the Netherlands, UK and Portugal a total of €150,000 is available for investment into two projects – the call for applications closes August 22nd.

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