A new report from Pyramid Research has calculated that the total download volume of free and paid applications will increase from 5.7 billion in 2009 to 41.1 billion in 2014. However, the proportion of free apps is increasing. Including downloads from operator portals, the proportion of free downloads increased from around 30% in 2008 to 54% last year – and is expected to keep growing until 2014, when it'll stabilise at around 80%.
Jan ten Sythoff, who wrote the report for Pyramid Research, said "Although paid apps have increased substantially in volume with the emergence of app stores, free apps have really boomed, revolutionizing the mobile advertising market. We believe, for instance, that Apple’s acquisition of mobile advertising network Quattro Wireless in early 2010 demonstrates that the company wants to monetize the billions of free apps being downloaded onto iPhones."
According to ABI Research, the total number of application downloads from app stores will peak in 2012/2013 before starting to decline slowly. However, even at the end of 2015, it expects around 1.2 billion apps to be downloaded worldwide.