Aug 24 2016
The web design services and smartphone app development industries have grown strongly over the past five years. Revenue growth has been driven by increased smartphone and tablet browsing, the rising popularity of e-commerce, and enhanced domestic web accessibility, fuelled by the NBN rollout.
Demand for web designers has increased over the past five years. This increased demand has come on the back of the public’s growing dependence on the internet for information and services, which has encouraged many businesses and government entities to contract web designers to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of websites. On top of this, the increasing popularity of smartphone browsing has meant companies often require web designers to develop websites that are compatible with smartphones and other mobile devices. This trend was amplified by Google’s April 2015 ‘Mobilegeddon’ search algorithm update, which measures the ease with which websites can be viewed on handheld devices when ranking search engine results.
Smartphone app developers have also been in high demand, with industry revenue growing by nearly an annualised 20% over the past five years. Increasing smartphone penetration has underpinned this growth, with many companies and government entities seeking to make their services available via mobile apps. Smartphone and tablet apps are downloaded and installed on mobile devices. They offer faster access to a client’s online content and can provide at least partial functionality when limited network connection is available. Due to fewer resources being available for downstream clients to develop mobile apps themselves, the smartphone app developers idustry has grown at much faster rate than the web design services industry over the past five years.
Both industries are expected to continue growing strongly over the next five years. Web designers and smartphone app developers will be required to work on an increasing number of websites and apps, which companies will launch to increase brand exposure, improve product and service offerings, and create additional sales channels. According to the ABS, only 47.0% of Australian businesses had some form of online representation in 2014. An anticipated recovery in business confidence over the next five years is projected to further increase demand for website and mobile app development.
Mobile app developers are expected to continue outpacing web design service providers for revenue growth. The web design services industry is projected to grow at an annualised 2.9% over the next five years, to total $1.2 billion, while the smartphone app developers industry is anticipated to grow at an annualised 10.6%, to $2.5 billion. Increased use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies is anticipated to amplify smartphone app developers’ revenue growth. A recent example is the July 2016 release of Fruit Ninja VR, a VR-headset compatible version of Halfbrick Studios’ global hit Fruit Ninja. AR technology is also expected to drive further investment in mobile gaming development following the success of Niantic Labs’ Pokemon Go. Meanwhile, IKEA has incorporated AR viewing options in its app, allowing customers to pick products from their catalogues and digitally overlay the items through the image capturing application on smartphones or tablets. This trend is projected to continue as more retailers follow suit.