Understanding the determinants of success in mobile apps markets

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Mobile applications (Apps) markets with App stores have introduced a new approach to define and sell software applications with access to a large body of heterogeneous consumer population. Several distinctive

Mobile applications (Apps) markets with App stores have introduced a new approach to define and sell software applications with access to a large body of heterogeneous consumer population. Several distinctive features of mobile App store markets including – (a) highly heterogeneous consumer preferences and values, (b) high consumer cognitive burden of searching a large selection of similar Apps, and (c) continuously updateable product features and price – present a unique opportunity for IS researchers to investigate theoretically motivated research questions in this area. The aim of this dissertation research is to investigate the key determinants of mobile Apps success in App store markets. The dissertation is organized into three distinct and related studies. First, using the key tenets of product portfolio management theory and theory of economies of scope, this study empirically investigates how sellers’ App portfolio strategies are associated with sales performance over time. Second, the sale performance impacts of App product cues, generated from App product descriptions and offered from market formats, are examined using the theories of market signaling and cue utilization. Third, the role of App updates in stimulating consumer demands in the presence of strong ranking effects is appraised. The findings of this dissertation work highlight the impacts of sellers’ App assortment, strategic product description formulation, and long-term App management with price/feature updates on success in App market. The dissertation studies make key contributions to the IS literature by highlighting three key managerially and theoretically important findings related to mobile Apps: (1) diversification across selling categories is a key driver of high survival probability in the top charts, (2) product cues strategically presented in the descriptions have complementary relationships with market cues in influencing App sales, and (3) continuous quality improvements have long-term effects on App success in the presence of strong ranking effects.