The number of apps on Apple’s App Store will grow 73 percent by the end of 2020, according to new predictive analysis.
The App Store currently holds around two million active apps, up from closer to 5,000 at the end of 2008, and 1.75 million at the end of 2015, according to research firm Sensor Tower.
The number will hit 2.93 million by the end of this year, and climb to more than five million during the following four years, it predicts.
Games are the dominant category of apps that are being added currently.
Forty three percent of the 48,231 new titles added to the App Store in May this year were games.
Education, entertainment, business, and lifestyle apps were the next most common.
As a consequence of this considerable growth, app developers, already struggling to be heard above the noise, will be even more hard-pressed to get their wares noticed.
Writing in a blog post, Randy Nelson, Head of Mobile Insights at Senor Tower, said: “It’s clear from the difficulty developers are having getting their apps discovered on a store containing roughly two million apps that some significant steps on Apple’s part will be required to make discoverability viable when there are more than twice that number to contend with.”
Apple introduced a shopping category for its apps for the first time last November, and has also introduced paid app search, which allowing publishers to bid on ads displayed within its App Store app for keyword searches.
But Nelson reckons better discoverability tools will be required in short course. “Far more significant changes to the navigation, curation, and overall presentation of the App Store will be needed to support an ecosystem that’s twice today’s size just four years from now,” he said.
Sensor Tower predicts improvements to the user interface, aided by Apple’s push into machine learning.
“We’re already seeing so-called ‘assistants’ making their way into core areas of iOS itself—most prominently in the new iOS 10 iMessage and Photos refresh—so it’s not unrealistic to imagine a near-future App Store assistant that learns from user behaviour to deliver customised recommendations,” said Nelson.
Sensor Tower analysed historical App Store data and trends to come up with its forecast.