Greasing the wheels of the European app economy

Over here at the Research arm of Gigaom, we’re doing a project for the European Commission to characterize and quantify the opportunity for apps in the EU. We’ve just launched a survey of independent developers to gain insights into what they think are their best opportunities, what they could use help on, and how they’re staffing. That will be a key input into our analysis and recommendations for the EC on initiatives or policies it should evaluate to jump-start job growth.

We encourage developers who are targeting EU markets to take our survey so they can participate in this conversation. We’ve already done a series of in-depth interviews and we’re hosting workshops and some crowd-sourced competitions for solving the challenges of startup scalability and fragmented markets.

What we’ve learned so far is that app platform proliferation will take care of itself, but that developers could use some assistance on biz dev rather than tech issues.

The base of European app platforms (mobile, social, and smart TV) is large and growing fast, which will create a ripe market for new apps:

At the same time:

  • Developers think revenue opportunities in direct fees seem more desirable than advertising

  • Promotion and discovery remain a key challenge, including search advertising and other marketing

  • Developers need assistance expanding into new national and regional markets; they are often baffled by the inherently smaller and more fragmented EU markets than the more concentrated opportunity in the US and Asia

So jump in with your own take, and stay tuned – we’ll keep you posted on the results.