Research: App stores have reached saturation point

Apparently, it’s all over. The market for “full catalog” app stores that provide a full range of native apps has reached a limit and new entrants will have a difficult time succeeding, according to a new study from research2guidance. Really, opps never mind…

More than ever, mobile developers who are evaluating distribution outlets should consider store viability before deciding where to place their products.

The Berlin-based firm reports that since 2000, as many as 59 full-catalog app stores have opened on the market. Today, 49 of the stores are considered viable. The market began constricting in the second half of 2010 and since then, the number of new entrants has been offset by stores that have closed. Others have failed to attract enough developer attention to create meaningful inventories.

The shakeout started last year and will continue as more stores are expected to exit the market or consolidate, research2guidance projects. And new stores considering entering the market will be hard pressed to compete against the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play, formerly Android Market.

The firm suggests that new app store entrants focus on niche segments. “Niche app stores blossomed in 2011, numbering near 100 by the end of the year,” the company said. Niche stores typically focus on OS-specific content, quality curation, consumer groups or enterprises.

Stores that distribute web apps that can access native device capabilities introduce a new opportunity. The forthcoming Mozilla Marketplace is one that could have the backing and developer interest to succeed.

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