A recent study released by the Application Developers Alliance and the CTIA show that the app economy has created 519,000 jobs since the creation of the economy. Since the the wide adoption of smartphones such as the iPhone and phones running Android and Windows phone software, the mobile arena has been booming—over 315 million devices running iOS have been sold since they first went on sale in June 2007, with Apple having sold over 25 billion apps from their iTunes store since 2008. The numbers are similar for Android apps, having sold well over of 15 billion.
Last year, sales from apps reached $10 billion and yearly sales are expected to hit $46 billion by 2016, according to the study. With such a large increase in growth of in this sector of the economy, more jobs are surely on their way. As mentioned above, a nearly 4-fold increase in app sales is predicted, and from there, one can only imagine the jobs that could be created.
Many, if not most, of the app creators are small businesses. They’re programmers and developers who have struck out on their own to offer their services in both creating consumer facing apps, as well services to other small businesses looking to create a new avenue to reach their customers. These small businesses, due to their size and startup nature, are able to move quickly to creative innovative products for consumers. This enables them to stay on top of their customers’ needs and wants, creating an ideal environment for consumers that deliver both steadily updated technology and competitive pricing due to the competitive nature and relatively low threshold to entering the market.
The availability of the appmakers mentioned above is also a boon to other small businesses. A recent article in the New York Times details how small businesses are using apps to market their businesses and find new ways to connect with customers. This new outlet for small businesses is creating new ways to reach customers and generate revenue, important as small businesses are the engine of job growth. It’s estimated that 70% of all new jobs created in the US come from small businesses. This cheap and accessible technology being utilized by small businesses is ultimately benefiting consumers through lower prices and better, more efficient service.
The power of unleashed entrepreneurs free to innovate is spurring this explosion in job creation and economic growth. When regulations are held back and barriers to entering a market are low, it encourages innovation, and thus spurs job creation. As this article in the Washington Post points out, when these technology jobs are created, it’s not just those with technical expertise that benefit. There are sales, marketing, and administrative jobs that need to be filled. When businesses are allowed to thrive, consumers benefit — both through a deeper job market and through low cost products that improve their lives.
Zack Christenson is a digital tech writer for the American Consumer Institute.