2016 marks the end of the app era. The chat bot era has begun.

In 2009, Apple coined the phrase “There’s an app for that.” In 2016, we should introduce a new slogan: “There’s a bot for that.”

Along with the widespread of smartphones, the number of apps exploded (and it’s still growing, even today).

However, the app eutopia is coming to an end. The app market is already reaching saturation.

People spend 80% of their time on top 3 apps

and 96% of their time on top 10 apps!

The reality is, regardless of the increase in the total number of apps in the app store, people don’t really use them. The 2015 study shows that people spend most of their time on very few apps on their top page.

Here’s another graph from a medium post.

I took a look at the breakdown of relative traffic (measured in relative total rankings) to the top 1000 non-games in the iOS App Store and the results are frightening. Just look at this graph:
As you can see, as you approach even the 10th most popular app (Skype), it’s a small fraction of the traffic seen by the top app (Facebook). As you approach the 1000th app (Pixable), you’re at just0.2% of the total adoption of the first.

Wow. Where did the other 10,000 apps go? This looks surprising, but it will seem natural once you start thinking about how you use apps. Think about your daily lives. How many apps do you use everyday? How many apps do you install every month?

I hope you’re convinced that apps are no longer a big thing. It’s sad. I’ve developed several iOS apps myself and it’s disappointing to realize that the skills I’ve acquired over time won’t be as highly valued as it used to be. But it’s not too late (it’s even still early). Let’s shift our gears to enter the new world, “The Chat Bot World”.

Welcome to the chat bot era :)

Here are some more interesting facts to convince you that chat bots are the next big thing.

Messaging Apps > Social Networks

Messaging apps are becoming more and more popular. Figures show that people are starting to prefer Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Whatsapp over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Bots that live in messaging apps will have a brighter future of reaching out to more customers.

Facebook wants you to develop more bots

At F8 conference held in San Francisco this April, Facebook released several new Messenger bot features. As a developer, you can now build simple messenger bots within a second. There are so many tutorials out there, in Node JS, python, ruby and many other languages to build messenger bots.

The chat bot ecosystem is flourishing

In YC Winter 2016 batch, there were 4 bot startups, 3 of which were bot analytics platforms. Slack recently invested total $80M to 11 slack bot startups to grow their community. The investors are starting to pay attention to bot startups, and some of the keener ones like YC are already investing in startups that supports other bot startups.

Conclusion

If you are a mobile/web app developer, it might be a good time for you to consider going through a tutorial or two to get accustomed to chat bots. Even if you’re a marketer or a salesperson, it’s worth keeping an eye on the most recent news about chat bots.

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