UK leads european app market


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Above: the UK's strong mobile development market is widely acknowledged.

The UK is the largest app developer market in Europe, according to research from Google, and accounts for more than a third of revenues generated from mobile software across the region. 

About 8,000 UK companies are involved in app development, Google’s report found, employing close to 400,000 people. Google predicts 30,000 jobs will be created in the next 12 months as the market continues to expand.

Almost a fifth of European developers of smartphone applications are based in the UK, mostly in London and the south east. Start-ups also appear in Cambridge, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

The UK is believed to be the world’s second most important tech hub after the US with London’s main European tech rivals including Berlin, Munich, Paris, Madrid and Moscow.

The report estimates that sales from making smartphone applications will exceed £4bn this year, and forecasts that revenues will reach £31bn by 2025. The research was commissioned by Google and carried out by VisionMobile, the market analysis company.

Developers and designers are attracted to the UK by the career prospects in the burgeoning industry, as well as income potential and work life balance. The industry benefits from close links with US technology groups, while the UK government has been supportive of the start-up economy, introducing several incentives and investments in infrastructure such as superfast broadband.

Almost half of app developers and designers in the UK generate most of their income from apps, although a fifth generate no income from apps at all but rather see them as a hobby.

The research was also sponsored by Tech City UK, a group set up to support the growth of technology clusters.

Joanna Shields, chair of Tech City UK, said: “This research demonstrates that the UK is a digital powerhouse across a range of technology sectors. The digital industry continues to drive the UK’s economic future, and we’re leading the way in Europe when it comes to app development.”