Mobile apps have become ubiquitous and you probably rely on several to make your life as a small business owner easier and more efficient. Yet for small business owners who run streamlined budgets, it can be difficult to fully grasp how important it has become for every business, regardless of its size, to have its own mobile app.

The Mobile App Forecast by App Annie — a research firm that provides app developers with analytics and market intelligence — offers insight into the growth of mobile apps, and how critical they’ve become. And Deluxe’s partners at BusinessApps have created a great infographic that captures the five most compelling stats to emerge from App Annie’s report:

  • Gross revenues for global mobile app sales will top $51 billion in 2016. Small businesses should be particularly interested in one key reason for the growth — mobile apps excel at capturing greater wallet shares in mature economies.
  • By 2020, global mobile app downloads will reach 284 billion. Can your small business really afford to stay out of the game when those kinds of numbers are in play?
  • Google Play is going to grow like a weed because more people in developing countries are getting smartphones. Google Play will top 166 billion by 2020, and iOS will reach 35.2 billion.
  • People aren’t just downloading game apps. Non-game app downloads will exceed $182 billion in 2020, accounting for a quarter of all app store downloads.
  • People are spending more time interacting with their apps. Total time spent in apps on Android phones grew a whopping 63 percent in just one year.

The infographic highlights the potential return on investment for small businesses that put some thought, time and money into developing their own mobile app. The market is huge and only getting bigger, and the potential for rewards is growing in pace with the expansion of the marketplace. Meanwhile, the cost of developing an app is going down for small businesses.

Just a few years ago, having an app custom-built for your small business could easily have topped $100,000. But as new technology gains wider usage, its cost declines for both the producer and the end-user. That’s certainly the case with mobile apps. Deluxe now offers a service that makes building mobile apps scalable and affordable.

While every marketing dollar represents a significant investment for a small business, when it comes to mobile apps, the potential rewards certainly offset the costs — and the growth in the global app market means more opportunity than ever for small businesses willing to make a wise investment.

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