App downloads to soar

27 January 2011

EGHAM: Worldwide downloads of mobile apps will increase by 117% in 2011, a new report from Gartner has predicted.

Encouragingly for app developers, revenue from the products is forecast for still sharper growth over 2010, up 190% to $15.1bn (€11bn, £9.5bn).

App store revenues growth for 2010-2014 is also predicted to hit 1,000%.

Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at the researchers, 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."

Higher app revenues are partly due to adspend and partly due to a continued decline in the proportion of total downloads that are for free apps.

Instead, many more users are paying for app-based games such as Angry Birds and Flight Control.

But free downloads will still make up approximately 81% of total downloads in 2011, according to Gartner.

Continued media buzz about apps, along with a greater diversity of stores - with Android Market, the Ovi store and RIM's App World all experiencing impressive growth - will drive downloads, according to the report.

Apple's App Store, which announced this week that it had processed 10bn app downloads since its launch, is to remain the market leader.

The outlet was responsible for around nine in ten app downloads in 2010.

Greater adoption of tablet PCs such as Apple's iPad could also drive sales over the years to come.

"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," Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said.

Globally, the iPad is performing well since its April 2010 launch, according to Apple's latest financial results.

Sales of the tablet hit 4.19m in Q3 2010 and 7.33m in Q4.

The rapid pace of growth is good news for marketers who want to reach young, tech-savvy consumers, with Gartner predicting that the proportion of app stores' revenue generated from advertising will rise from 16% in 2010 to roughly 33% in 2014.

Data sourced from Gartner/Apple; additional content by Warc staff