Research company Gartner has forecast that worldwide mobile application store downloads are expected to reach 17.7 billion downloads this year, a 117% increase from last year’s estimate of 8.2 billion downloads. The Gartner forecast excluded apps ‘sideloaded’ from a PC and only considered application stores offering purchases and downloads on a mobile device.
Revenue from the applications sold is projected to exceed $15.1 billion (£9.5 billion) in 2011. This total includes the purchase price of apps along with advertising revenue generated from the apps but excludes other content sold via app stores. The figure is 190% up from 2010’s estimated revenue of $5.2 billion.
By the end of 2014, just six-and-a-half years after the first mobile app store was launched, Gartner reckons over 185 billion applications will have been downloaded from app stores.
Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner, said “Many are wondering if the app frenzy we have been witnessing is just a fashion, and, like many others, it shall pass. We do not think so. We strongly believe there is a sizable opportunity for application stores in the future. However, applications will have to grow up and deliver a superior experience to the one that a Web-based app will be able to deliver. Native apps will survive the Web enhancements only when they will provide a more-personal and richer experience to the ‘vanilla’ experience that a Web-based app will deliver.”
81% of this year’s app store downloads are expected to be free; a figure that’s been falling for the last couple of years.