As a blogger, mobile market research and PR firms send me loads of press releases, white papers and podcast guest suggestions and more. I scan most emails, read some in greater depth and ignore most.
Why? Because most mobile market research firms have an agenda: to convince people, using available studies, that they know something you don’t. In many cases, they don’t.
Let’s take a close look at a recent press release I received from research2guidance in Germany. The press release copy is in quotes. My responses are in brackets.
Mobile Market Research Firms on Apps; OS Growth
“Apple and Android account for 82% of all app downloads but 2013 might be the turning point of the dominance for both platforms. While Apple’s market share of app downloads constantly fell from 81% in 2008 to 39% at the end of 2012, Android’s app downloads increased year over year reaching 42% at the end of 2012.
“Both platforms now combine 82% of all app downloads. Will this duopoly last for the next years or will the market see another major change in the market structure as witnessed 5 years ago when the dominance of Symbian started to fade away?”
[First, smartphone users and researchers know that the average new app stays on a touch phone around 48 hours, then gets trashed; second, Nokia's 42% market share was hardware, not software, except for ringtones. In its heyday, Nokia phones proliferated in Europe and Asia due to the quality of its mobile handsets, not "apps" waiting for their birth in the late 1990's.]
“The most likely scenario is that the duopoly will give way to a more heterogeneous mobile operating system landscape. There is evidence that already in 2013 the market will enter a new phase with more relevant mobile app platforms which would be the beginning of the end of the duopoly.”
[Impressive language, but really? What studies support the notion that as mobile operating systems increase, the winners take a loss? The smartphone market is on a steep upward curve. Blackberry is making a come-back. Windows is "alive," with Nokia's handset expertise. Markets grow. Blue oceans thrive. The only losers in the app market will be the "me too, let's copy someone else's apps."]
1. “New platforms, new choices: Microsoft, BlackBerry, Firefox, Ubuntu or Jolla have come up with fresh and new app platforms which will challenge the two market leaders. Some have financial strength; others have innovative concepts and solutions. All seem to attract a lot of market hype indicating that the market got a bit bored with iOS and Android and are looking for something new.” [And what leads you to that conclusion? Is market hype tied to consumer dissatisfaction with Android and iOS-based software? I don't think so. Mobile app developers first release iPhone/iPad apps; Android seems less fragmented than two years ago.The Motley Fool just confirmed that Windows OS market share in the U.S. is growing. And who wouldn't want 5% of an industry growing in the high double digits? ]
2. “Old problems of the computer/mobile device industry, old strategies: Today, 90% of all smartphones come with an iOS or Android operating system. Maybe mobile phones users can live with this uniformity but most of the smartphone device manufacturers can’t, if they don’t want to compete only by price. As a consequence new and fresh operating systems will be loaded on smartphones especially from 2nd tier device manufacturers like HTC, Huawai and ZTE to offer something different. [Hmm..little said about Samsung, which has the largest Android market, nor that the other manufacturers have opted in for Firefox OS.]
Relevant Mobile Operating Systems
“This market shift would have an impact on the app initiatives companies have launched over the course of the last years. Every app developer and publisher will have to adjust their app development and distribution strategy to compete in a market with 5-7 relevant mobile operating systems. In essence app development and distribution will become more complex.” [Brilliant. That one must have come from a writer who attended marketing 101. Rapid change has been the norm in the exploding smartphone market. But it's encouraging to read that the mobile market research firms know something that you don't."
"Adding HTML5 makes 7 platforms to watch and/or maintain. That is good news for the app development industry and multi-platform tool vendors but starts to become a real management task for companies trying to reach their customers with the help of mobile apps..." [Well, gee, new and revamped operating systems will challenge management? That's why they're paid the big bucks. Can you imagine other consumer electronics firms or appliance companies talking this way? Of course consumers desire variety and change; that's the nature of the U.S. economy.]
“Building and marketing an app is becoming increasingly complex and will demand a systematic fact based approach to handle market turbulences in the coming years.”
[And that's the way it is in the mobile market research firms' land of Oz.]
research2guidance is a Berlin-based mobile app economy specialist. The company’s service offerings include app strategy consulting, market studies and research.
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