A new study from ABI Research says the world’s smartphone customers will download about 36 billion apps in 2012, which means the average smartphone user will download almost 37 applications this year. It’s almost 6% up on the 35 apps that an average smartphone subscriber was thought to have downloaded in 2011.
However, the long-term trend is heading in the opposite direction - driven in part by the mobile web and HTML5 offering a similar user experience to native apps in some situations.
Aapo Markkanen, senior analyst at ABI Research, said “When forecasting on app downloads one has to make a number of assumptions on, for instance, the device mix, developer activity, and the demographics of existing and future smartphone users. The next waves of smartphone subscribers in the more mature app markets of the United States, Western Europe, and parts of Asia will be downloading quite notably fewer apps than, say, the first one-third of the mobile consumers who bought smartphones. News and magazine apps are a segment where the momentum is likely to shift towards the web within the next two to three years. Since news and media content already account for a large share of smartphone usage and are likely to play an even bigger role in later adopters’ usage, changes in this segment alone will make subscribers on average download fewer native apps.”