Just as Bowie was a symbol of the 80’s and a Tamagotchi was a symbol of the 90’s, the trend of digitalisation in the modern age will see the smartphone establish itself as the hallmark of the millennial era. To keep up with the theme of nostalgia, the double act of a mobile app and an iPhone will see itself become just as famous as the likes of Cannon and Ball, The Two Ronnies and leggings with ankle warmers.

Although the rise of smartphones and applications may seem meteoric, they have been a long time in the making. Amidst the credit crunch and a Spice Girls reunion, Steve Jobs sparked a frenzy by unveiling the very first iPhone in 2007. 10 years on and we have over 2 billion smartphone owners with access to over 2 million mobile apps. This accelerated growth is one of the main reasons as to why the mobile apps industry has eclipsed the other sectors in the research and development industry.

Despite being earmarked as the definition of a visionary, even Jobs may have struggled to comprehend the stratospheric rise of this industry. There are no signs of this sector slowing down either, as the App Store is expected to reach 5 million mobile apps by 2020. With over 62,000 applications to computer science degree courses in 2016 in the UK alone, the possibility of eclipsing this target is completely fathomable.

The future is seemingly bright for mobile apps, but what about the here and now?

With a net margin of 48 percent for the most profitable industries of 2016, IT and internet software services are thriving. It is no surprise to see so many prospective students looking to capitalise on this fruitful industry. There is good reason for these students to capitalise, too. Despite an abundance of mobile apps already in existence, there is still a great deal of scope available for innovation. With so much room for innovation and creation, mobile apps, as an industry, have had a running start against the likes of medicine, which is fighting a losing battle in a search for funding.

Whether it is with computer science, pharmaceuticals, banking or any other sector, the current technological and scientific landscape is allowing the research and development industry to blossom. The government has recognised the health of the R&D sector, too, and has recently pumped over £4 billion of taxpayer money into the industry. The future is not only bright for mobile apps and computer science, but for R&D as a whole.

The most common concern for this industry, however, is trying to coin that million dollar idea and thinking of something which has escaped the mind of every other developer. Yet, the truth is, the reason that this business is thriving and continuing to grow is that the process of creating a successful app is far more simple than you would think. A straightforward route to success is what has allowed entrepreneurs and developers to propel this industry right to the very top.

It is not rocket science. One lazy scroll through the App Store will highlight how many mobile apps there are which all do the same job. Take the ‘finance’ category, for example. There are hundreds of mobile apps which offer some form of budgeting system to help you keep track of your ingoings and outgoings.

This method of reinventing an idea has been repeated time and time again and will continue to be repeated. Do not confuse this with a lack of imagination or jumping on the bandwagon, however. Although you may have the same theme as other developers, there is still a potential to succeed. By creating a service which is more user-friendly, more responsive and better looking, your app will still be successful. The room for variation is still as wide as it was in 2007, and that is why the mobile apps sector continues to grow and continues to outperform other R&D sectors.

There are going to be some users who value your product, and those who take to a different flavour, but with an ever-growing number of smartphone users, all with different needs and requirements, the ‘variation on a theme’ approach is still rewarding. Unlike other areas of the research and development industry, there is not a one size fits all policy for profiting in this area, and this element of versatility is a major factor in why mobile apps have cemented their place at the top of the research and development leaderboard.

With that being said, answering an age old question with a simple and effective solution is still a surefire way of cashing in on the mobile apps game. randd uk reward innovation with help in retrieving tax credits for companies in the research and development sector, so there are more benefits in that lightbulb moment than you might think.

As markets go, the mobile apps market is not restrictive and is not as competitive as other markets in the research and development sector. There are no limits as to how many developers can succeed and how much they can earn. In comparison to the technology sector or the scientific area of the research and development industry, software developing and computer science is a relatively friendly and encouraging market. Volatility has escaped the world of mobile apps, and the environment for developers and engineers has been tailored for success.

We have already mentioned how the IT sector comprises almost half of the net margin for the most profitable industries of 2016, but does that really mean that the mobile app industry is taking over the research and development sector? The simple answer is ‘yes’. Generic pharmaceutical industries only generate a 30 percent net margin, making it the second most profitable industry. This 18 percent difference highlights the sheer gulf in available profit between sectors. Admittedly, ‘IT and internet services’ is a bit of an umbrella term, but it goes some way in contextualising the success of the industry in comparison to the other components in the R&D world.

However, before you go dropping out of your current University course to sign up to computer science, there is one crucial piece of information to take in; making mobile apps doesn’t happen overnight and the process isn’t easy either. Just like there is a reason as to why so many prospective students sign up for computer science, there is also a reason as to why it has the highest dropout rate of any course in the UK.

Perhaps the challenge of succeeding in computer science sheds some light as to why the mobile apps industry is outperforming in the research and development sector, as those who do progress through the years of university or succeed through another route have the dedication and the knowledge to profit. The fact of the matter of is that very few successful mobile apps will be built in a day.

If you are the creator of an app or any other research and development company and believe you are entitled to tax credits, randd uk can fine-tune your application to ensure you receive everything you are owed. Get in touch today by calling us on 01332 477 070.