With over 270 million smartphones estimated to be sold in 2013, startups who build a mobile app are poised to reach the largest audience and increase their chance of success.
Building a mobile app isn’t just about building the next Angry Birds or Instagram. With the growing number of mobile users (and corresponding decrease in desktop users), startups who don’t have an app for their customers are missing out on a huge opportunity.
Some entrepreneurs go so far as to say that your startup shouldn’t have a website at all and should only have a mobile app: “Why Your Startup Should Be Mobile First”.
The reality is that not every startup will benefit from having a mobile app. But if you’re trying to build a company, you can’t afford to ignore them. Here’s why:
As a startup founder, you have only one chance to get users right.
You can’t afford to make the mistakes that we made at our last startup, Onswipe.
At Onswipe, we always designed for the desktop first and mobile second. This strategy put us in a position where we had to adapt our product to mobile rather than building something natively mobile first. That decision was costly and ultimately led us down the wrong path.
Don’t let this happen to your startup!
To save you from making the same mistake, I want to share with you why your startup should be mobile first.
It is a common misconception that successful startups begin with great ideas. The greatest ideas do not always make it. A good idea needs to be executed properly and followed through by the right people, which is what makes most startups fail.
Startups are like a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and effort to build a successful company that solves real problems for real people. The more time you put into the product, the stronger your startup will be in the end.
A strong foundation needs to be built before even trying to scale your business, which means that mobile first should be part of your startup strategy.
Why Mobile First?
It’s all about defining your mobile strategy as early as possible so that it can shape your product roadmap and inform all future decisions. This will also help you avoid some major headaches down the road.
The number of people who use their smartphones on a daily basis is constantly increasing and no matter where they are or what they are doing, they have their phones with them all the time. These days, when people have a problem or need something, they turn to their phones first instead of looking for other solutions. And this is exactly where you come in with your product. If you don’t have a mobile app yet and are planning
In case you are not yet convinced as to why your startup needs a mobile app, here are some reasons that might change your mind:
1. Smartphones have become the primary computing device for most of the world’s population.
2. Mobile commerce is growing rapidly and will overtake e-commerce in 2016.
3. More than half of all online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets (and this number is growing).
4. Users prefer native apps over mobile websites and spend 4 times more time on their favorite apps than on the mobile web.
5. Users tend to be much more loyal to native apps than they are to mobile sites and use them on a frequent basis.
Now, more than ever before, mobile applications are growing in popularity. There are now more than a million apps available on Google Play and Apple’s App store. And while Android is the largest smartphone platform in the world and it boasts the largest market share, Apple’s App Store still generates four times as much revenue as Google Play.
This has led many developers to consider creating a native iOS app over an Android app. After all, if you build only for iOS devices and you can generate at least four times more revenue for your business then why not?
But this is not always the best decision. Sure, you may be able to generate more money using an iOS app. But there are also billions of Android users around the world that you will miss out on. What if one of those users could have been your next big customer or investor?
Thankfully, there is another option: cross-platform development. Cross platform development allows businesses to create apps that will work on multiple platforms—iOS and Android included—but only requires them to develop a single app instead of two. This means that you can launch your app faster and by targeting both platforms at once you can reach a wider audience, which means that you have the potential to make even more money than
There’s a big difference between what people say and what they do. People will tell you to design for the web, but when you look at their own usage patterns, you find that they overwhelmingly prefer apps.
Another way of saying this is that the biggest problem with mobile is that there aren’t enough people using smartphones to make it worth developing native apps.
Instead, the majority of people are still using feature phones. As a result, many companies still take a “mobile first” approach to building products and services, which means building for feature phones first and then working up to smartphones.
The blog post also points out that as mobile becomes more popular in developing countries, feature phones are becoming more popular:
In some developing countries with low coverage and high costs, feature phones are more prevalent than smartphones. In places like India, the Philippines and Nigeria, smartphone penetration has remained static for the past year at about 15%. In those countries alone, there are nearly 300 million feature phone users who will likely never have access to a smartphone (due to cost or availability), so native apps would be irrelevant for them.
The mobile application market is growing faster than a beanstalk. An industry that, according to a recent report by Gartner, was worth $6.8 billion in 2009, will be worth $58 billion by the end of 2011. It is predicted that by 2012, the number of downloads will reach 17.7 billion, and the amount of money spent on apps will reach $29 billion.
A report from VisionMobile entitled “The Developer Economics Q1 2012” states that there are now more than 500 million active Android and iOS devices in use around the world. These numbers have inspired many entrepreneurs to look at mobile applications as a way of making it big in the market. While many have been successful doing just this, there are others who have failed for not taking into consideration certain factors before going ahead with their app development.
Here are some of those factors: