2015 Appcelerator / IDC Mobile Trends Report: Leaders, Laggards and the Data Problem

It’s here: our annual Mobile Trends Report, a survey of developers (almost 6,000) conducted with our friends from IDC. The mobile world moves fast, meaning every year we line up a new set of questions to get at the thoughts, issues, concerns and habits of mobile developers, straight from the source.

A few of the key findings…

What’s What in 2015:

  • 72.4% of developers surveyed said that getting mobile-optimized access to backend data is becoming the single greatest challenge to app building.


  • 46.7% of developers say building and deploying mobile APIs causes the most difficulty when getting data access.
  • When looking at app release velocity, a distinct comparison between mobile “leaders” and “laggards” emerges. The key difference between these two groups is release velocity. 42.6% of self-identified mobile leaders report maintaining a weekly or bi-weekly app release cycle. Only 9.5% of self-identified laggards say they maintain a weekly or bi-weekly release cycle.


  • Developers echoed last year’s sentiments that the emerging market dujour is home automation. In fact, 58.5% of developers say they’re “very interested” in building apps for home devices.

Dev Lessons:

  • 60.4% of surveyed developers reported building apps to generate revenue. Of those developers, 43% say that in-app purchases are the best method for making money. Only 19% of devs say they charge for the app itself.
  • Apple recently attempted to shake things up within the developer community by releasing an SDK for TV, but just 39.2% of developers surveyed say they are “very interested” in building apps for Apple TV. Meanwhile, 60.7% of developers surveyed reported interest in developing for the Apple Watch.
  • Only 25% of developers with experience using low-code, drag-and-drop app development tools (aka RMAD) describe the experience as positive. 59% were neutral and 16% were negative.

Looking Forward:

We’re moving from a mantra of “mobile-first” to “API-first.” This is because “mobile” no longer means only “a smaller thing with a screen.” Mobile, properly understood, is an ecosystem of untethered devices, whose usefulness depends on accessing and orchestrating a range of backend services and data. Mobile leaders understand that today. Moving into 2016, we suspect the laggards will begin to catch on too. They’ll have to.

The full report—with plenty of great charts framing what’s happening, including dev preferences for platforms—is available here.

Click to download the full report