Independent mobile app store GetJar says the number of mobile applications downloaded every year is expected to increase from last year's figure of 7 billion to almost 50 billion by 2012. That's a compound annual growth rate of 92%. Revenue is expected to increase almost as dramatically; paid app downloads, advertising and virtual goods are expected to generate $17.5 billion (£11.5 billion) by 2012 – up from $4.1 billion in 2009. That'll put apps ahead of CD sales, which are predicted to generate $13.83 billion in 2012.
Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director of the Mobile Entertainment Forum, commented "The recent forecasts on the rise of the apps economy are supported by investment patterns and industry sentiment revealed in MEF’s Annual Business Confidence Index, which found that 21% of mobile entertainment revenues streams are predicted to come from mobile apps in the next quarter. At the same time, numerous issues must be addressed including sustainable business models, fragmentation and variance amongst handsets and app stores, as well as transparency around in-app billing. MEF is working with the industry to address these opportunities and challenges in order for the mobile apps economy to fulfil its full potential."
[GetJar report (pdf)]