Tablet apps will generate $8.8 billion in revenue in 2013, compared to the $16.4 billion expected from smartphone apps, according to forecasts from ABI Research, London.
However, tablet apps will steadily increase their share of the market over the coming years, to an extent that they will, in 2017, nearly match the smartphone application revenues and surpass them in 2018, when the combined revenue base will reach $92 billion.
Of the combined $25 billion in 2013, 65% will come from Apple’s iOS ecosystem, 27% from Google’s Android, and the remaining 8% from the other mobile platforms.
“The dynamic is quite straightforward,” says Aapo Markkanen, ABI Reseach senior analyst. “The larger screen makes apps and content look and feel better, so there are more lucrative opportunities. One might think that the bigger installed base of smartphones would compensate for the disparity, but that notion fails to take into account the arrival of low-cost tablets, which hasn’t even started yet at its earnest. The smartphones paved the way for them, but in the end we believe that it’s the tablets that will prove the more transformative device segment of the two.”
A major part in the allure of tablets is how they will help address the demographic groups that have so far been under-served by the market.
“The really big deal about tablets is how they will help to finally bring the computing age to, for instance, children and the elderly,” says Markkanen, “The business opportunity associated with them is undeniable, but at the same they can also bring about very significant social benefits.”