Analyst firm research2guidance said that 2011 has become “the year of targeting niche app user segments,” with the number of niche app stores having doubled every year since 2009.
According to the company, this reflects a shift in the market, from a “platform-driven service offering, to a more sophisticated customer segment-driven one.”
While previously the priority for device owners was to find stores which provided apps compatible with their handsets, as the number of apps increased customers have been faced by difficulties locating apps due to the volume available in stores.
research2guidance said that this means that device owners are now looking for portals which provide them with “more streamlined, targeted app selections and results.”
It was also said that the growth of niche app stores has been “partially” fuelled by back-end service providers, who have enabled any company to run its own app store and monetise, for example, website traffic.
The market demand for easier search and discovery of apps will have an impact on both publishers and app stores, the company said.
For developers, niche plays present “increased opportunities for exposure, hopefully leading to increased downloads.” For app stores, the rise of niche alternatives means that search mechanisms and merchandising options will need to increase in order to keep pace with the growth of apps.