There is a cornucopia of opportunity in the commercial real estate app realm, as is supported by the results of the One Question Poll we conducted on Twitter over the last twenty four hours. One hundred thirty one people responded, which was almost two and a half times the number that responded to our previous One Question Poll, Is the term disruption overused or misused in commercial real estate?
The question asked was “Do you use any commercial real estate apps?” The poll had four possible responses: On my iPhone or iPad, On my Android device, On my Windows phone, or Not at all. 13% of the respondents use CRE apps on their iPhone or iPad, 6% on their Android device, 0% on their Windows phone, and 81% don’t use mobile CRE apps at all.
According to a comScore report, as of July 2015 Android is the top U.S. smartphone platform for ages 13+, with 51.3% of subscribers. Apple follows with 44.2% and Microsoft with 2.9%, leaving 1.4% for Blackberry and Symbian. So, why the disconnect between the number of Apple and Android devices out there and the usage in commercial real estate? A January 2014 Business Insider article makes the case that Android users largely use their phones as “dumbphones.” Apple users are the ones downloading and using apps like crazy. Androids are widely regarded as superior for gaming, but Apple has the edge on everything else. Windows phones don’t really enter the conversation at all. And, of all apps on all platforms, it’s no surprise that Facebook is the most dominant of all, with 73.3% of all smartphone users having downloaded it.
Turning to the 81% of respondents that don’t use any CRE apps at all one could see that as either discouraging or a great opportunity. Being an optimist and an entrepreneur, I choose the latter! Looking at the iTunes App Store, of the top 200 Business apps, only LoopNet appears on the Free list at #163 and Barrons Dictionary of Real Estate Terms on the Paid list, coincidentally also at #163. This reinforces the poll results that there is not a lot of traction yet among commercial real estate practitioners for using industry dedicated apps. I find this a little surprising because so many of us spend so much time outside of our offices. Had I known this before I started developing QuantumListing would I still have done it? The answer is an emphatic yes.
I’d rather get to the market too early than too late. As I’ve previously written, as native phone users enter the industry, they’ll seek out mobile solutions since that is a work mode with which they are inherently comfortable. And, I believe they will bring their more senior peers along with them as they see that the mobile CRE apps make them more productive. The net result is that we mobile app developers have a cornucopia of opportunity ahead. It’s our job to ease the pain points that we perceive in the industry, and get the word out on how we can help our real estate colleagues continue to succeed.
Best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving!