The latest study from Strategy Analytics predicts that 350 billion mobile apps will be downloaded to smartphones and tablets between 2008 and 2017, with paid application downloads generating more than $57 billion (£36 billion) worldwide.
However, free apps are expected to account for more than 91% of all downloads by 2017.
When free and paid smartphone apps are considered together, the average selling price of a downloaded smartphone app is forecast to fall to 8 cents (5p) by 2017.
Josh Martin, Director of Apps Research at Strategy Analytics, said “Paid downloads remain an essential component of the app ecosystem. Paid downloads will remain an important way for smaller developers to monetize their efforts. For developers committed to paid downloads transitioning to tablets may be the smartest way to preserve the business model over the long term. App Stores will also see a revenue crunch as more revenue is earned from advertising – revenue generated outside the bounds of the app store – and will need to prepare. Newer platforms such as Windows 8, BlackBerry 10, Tizen and Firefox are building their operating systems and storefronts with this knowledge which should go a long way to making them attractive to developers and end users.”
According to the report, Apple is expected to have 56% of tablet downloads in 2017 while Google Play will have more than 45% of smartphone downloads.