Spain leads app market in EU- but users want them for free

Mobile Congress<p>Mobile Congress</p>

A country severely battered by the economic crisis is notwithstanding the EU’s leader in smartphone and tablet penetration. In Spain, entrepreneurship related to these industries is becoming strong these days and experts see the country as an ideal environment for content generation. Besides, five ‘Made in Spain’ apps are nominated for the next Premier Awards, organized by App Circus: Social Diabetes, Splyce, Andara, y Samplr.

Spanish businesses like Mobilisto have also been shrewd when it comes to implementing SMS purchase products. The process of creating an app goes beyond programming and designing; it is necessary to execute a business model, operating schedule, communications plan and monitoring. Technology is increasingly within reach of everyone and there are scarcely barriers to entry, but the most hard part seems to be getting enough funding. “Only those who contribute with something different will succeed,”  Kapow Software manager José Ferrer explains.

Hoverwer, projects that begin to succeed still need to go abroad to find better financial conditions. In 2008 just 0.01% of apps were profitable, according to a consulting firm Gartner report. “It is a huge challenge to get economic profit from apps because this is a country used to having everything for free and it is not easy to monetise since everyone avoids paying,” says IE Business School Benbunan.

An app potential gold mine

22 million people in Spain are active apps users and 4 million apps for smartphones, tablets and TV are downloaded every day. The average user is a middle-class man, aged 25 to 44 years old, who gets online around 3 hours per day with his smartphone, according to the App Date Annual Report 2013. 72 % of users keep their phones on while sleeping, 33% take them to the bathroom, 80% keep them close while eating and only 1.5% leave it at home when they go on holidays.

The Mobile World Congress, starting this Monday in Barcelona, is the most relevant mobile tech meeting in the world. Until February 27, mobile service providers, manufacturers and content distributors will show the sector upcoming global trends. Spanish companies will try to make the most of this spotlight on their own land.

With around 60,000 people expected visitors, conferences will be held by innovative companies and the biggest names in the industry. The App Date founder, Javier Navarro, points out for The Corner  that we will see advances in areas such as synchronized cars and smartphones by apps and voice command.

The current economic situation and the end of subsidies from mobile companies in Spain have pushed down the average price of new phones. And of course, the fight between brands has intensified. But job opportunities have appeared too. More and more professionals are specialising on this app industry, although companies agree it is not easy for them to find staff meeting their requirements.

Microsoft analysts explained to The Corner that in this harsh work environment, app development has a great growth potential. “Fostering innovation and business creation are vital tools to build the future,” they said. That is why they are allocating 9M€ in three years to AppCampus, a program conducted with Nokia to support entrepreneuship and mobile app development at Aalto University in Helsinki.



About the Author

The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.

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