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European app sector set to boom - 18/02/2014

Smartphones on display © EU

Nearly 5 million jobs and €63bn could be added to the EU’s economy by 2018, says EU study.

The market for “apps” - application software designed for mobile devices - already employs 1 million developers and 800 000 people in marketing and support posts in the EU. This could rise to nearly 5 million by 2018, according to a recent report.

The EU’s app economy currently brings in €17.5bn a year. Further consumer spending together with increased advertising and contract work could see annual revenues grow to €63bn within the next 5 years.

Tackling the skills shortage

Despite being a global leader in the development of app games, the EU still lags behind the US in terms of developer training and salaries.

To address the problem the EU is partnering with industry and other organisations in the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs. The goal is to equip more people - particularly the young - with the right IT skills, to help fill the growing number of IT vacancies across the EU.

The EU has also launched the Open Education Europa website allowing students, professionals and education institutions to share free-to-use open educational resources.

Technical glitches

For the EU to reach its potential in the app sector, certain weaknesses need to be resolved. These include poor wireless connectivity, cross-border connection problems and network service constraints in some member countries.

EU developers are also concerned by the lack of 4G services and interoperability between US-based platforms like Android, iOS and Facebook. The de facto dependence on such platforms is also reducing revenues.

Help for EU businesses

With over 500 million EU consumers the potential for businesses and app developers is huge. The EU is working to simplify EU rules on copyright and licensing to help bring ideas to market.

To promote ICT and web entrepreneurship in Europe and help companies to flourish, the EU has launched Startup Europe which brings together budding entrepreneurs and market leaders to share ideas and develop new products and services.

Next steps

The European Parliament is currently discussing plans to deliver a “Connected Continent”. This includes improving high-speed 4G and broadband services, which will be vital for the future of the EU’s app sector.

Press release - The €63 billion app boom

Startup Europe

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