ABI Research says the number of smartphone applications downloaded from 'app stores' will keep growing until 2013… but those figures will then start to drop.
Last year, consumers downloaded 2.4 billion applications from application stores – a figure that'll almost treble by 2013, when almost 7 billion apps will be downloaded. Apple's App Store will remain the market leader until 2013 according to ABI's report, despite pressure from Android and Symbian. However, ABI Research says the evolution of the mobile internet will then lead to consumers starting to head away from dedicated stores for their software applications. Total app downloads will probably continue to grow, although downloads via app stores are expected to fall.
Mark Beccue, senior analyst at ABI, said "App stores aren’t going away: following the 2013 peak in demand, the number of downloads in 2015 will have decreased only seven or eight percent. But as our use of the mobile internet evolves, demand will increasingly shift elsewhere. We see two emerging trends: first, many applications (increasingly built on web standards) will migrate from app stores to regular websites, and for some sites you won’t need an app at all. In addition, more and more popular applications will be preloaded on mobile devices. Social networking apps in particular will be pre-loaded on new products."
However, there is still hope for the app store – and it comes from developing markets. ABI Research says mobile network operators will increasingly launch their own app stores, which may offer downloadable apps for feature phones in regions where smartphone penetration is lower.