Canalys has forecast that direct revenue to mobile app stores from the sale of apps, in-app purchases and subscriptions will reach $14.1 billion next year, up 92% from this year’s anticipated total of $7.3 billion. The increase is expected to continue for the next few years, reaching $36.7 billion (approaching £23 billion) by 2015.
This equates to a four-year compound annual growth rate of almost 50%.
The company says this projected growth offers an opportunity for mobile network operators to compete with vendor app stores by using their subscriber information to offer an improved customer experience.
Tim Shepherd, an analyst in the mobile team at Canalys, said “The leading stores already have hundreds of thousands of apps, so it’s hard for operators to compete with those numbers. On the other hand, too much choice brings serious problems in terms of application discovery for both developers and users, which operators can turn to their advantage. As more content and services are delivered over their networks, many MNOs are aspiring to move up the value chain. When it comes to detailed subscriber data, operators certainly have the competitive advantage. While they must clearly be careful to respect their customers’ privacy, the data they hold leaves them well positioned to propose targeted marketing services, such as promotions and recommendations, as well as richer editorial guidance, better localization, improved security and simpler billing processes.”
Canalys points out that 419 million app-compatible smartphones and 43.3 million tablets devices are expected to ship worldwide this year.