Research firm Gartner has forecast worldwide mobile app store downloads of 17.7 billion this year, a 117% leap from 2010 that will lead to revenue nearly tripling to over US$15 billion, when app purchases and in-app advertising revenue are both accounted for. Downloads should hit 185 billion by the end of 2014.
Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said in a press release: “We estimate that Apple’s App Store drove close to nine application downloads out of 10 in 2010 and will remain the single best-selling store across our forecast period (through 2014), although to a lesser extent, as other stores manage to gain momentum.”
Tablets, such as Apple’s successful iPad, will help drive growth, according to Ms. Milanesi: “While the average number of downloads per device onto a smartphone will remain stable as the market grows, it must be assumed that media tablets will drive more downloads from consumers, boosting the overall average downloads per device.”
Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner, added: “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.”