Gartner Says Mobile Apps Booming, Ars Pegs Apple's Marketshare at 99.4%

Research firm Gartner has issued a report on the mobile apps market that predicted it will grow to some US$6.2 billion in 2010, and that mobile app stores, including Apple's App Store, will grow to 4.5 billion downloads during the same time. Though Apple was not named in Gartner's report, ArsTechnica did some math of their own and concluded that Apple has some 99.4% of this growing market.

"As smartphones grow in popularity and application stores become the focus for several players in the value chain, more consumers will experiment with application downloads," Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "Games remain the No. 1 application, and mobile shopping, social networking, utilities and productivity tools continue to grow and attract increasing amounts of money."

The firm said that total app downloads in 2009 numbered 2.516 billion, a figure that will grow to 4,507 billion in 2010. Revenue isn't keeping up with that growth, though it is still strong, growing from $4.237 billion in 2009 to $6.77 billion in 2010. Some 82% of downloads in 2010 will be free, according to the company.

The firm also said it expects app downloads to grow to more than 21.6 billion in 2013, and that 87% of those downloads will be free.

ArsTechnica's back-of-the-napkin math looked at Apple's stated app download figures and concluded that Apple had some 2.5 billion downloads during 2009. Putting the two data sets together, that would give Apple some 99.4% market share.

Further extrapolation suggested that Apple could maintain 66% market share going forward if it could simply maintain an app download rate of 250 million per month in 2010 for a total of 3 billion downloads. Again, putting the two data sets together, that would mean that much of the growth Gartner is predicting would be for other platforms, including Google's Android platform.