An overview of the photo and video app market

1Executive Summary

The photo and video app market is a sizable one undergoing rapid changes.

Based on estimates from Xyologic, the top 25 free iPhone apps in this category generated 24 million downloads in August alone. Free photo and video apps for Android had only slightly more downloads.

With low barriers to entry, the photo and video app market also consists of a large number of developers and is certainly not limited to a handful of well-­financed startups: According to 148Apps.biz, the iTunes Store counts 16,924 photo and video apps, and Google Play lists 6,307.

In terms of changes to the photo and video app market: 

  • Two-thirds of the 508 top-ranking photo and video apps analyzed in this study have been introduced in just the past 12 months. However, as shown in the section “Photo and video app rankings and analysis,” there are signs that this flood of newcomers making it into the top rankings is diminishing.
  • The lucky apps become hits, and some of those companies get acquired. Already we’ve seen four major acquisitions and one substantial investment round since Facebook first announced its plans to acquire Instagram.
  • There are indications that filter and effects features are starting to become more of a line item in apps than their main use case. We dive into use cases of the top-ranking apps in the final section of this report.
  • Photo and video apps are increasingly turning to alternative monetization methods: More and more now have in-app purchasing options, and some are starting to offer features to order physical photo products in their apps.
  • External changes are also having an effect on the photo-app market. With the iPhone 5 relatively new on the market, it is too early to tell how the phone’s enhanced camera, new photo-sharing features, and panorama-photo-taking functions will impact the photo and video app market. Even changes in Facebook’s privacy policy can have a dramatic impact on some apps, as we describe in the next section.
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Hans Hartman

Principal, Owner Suite 48 Analytics

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