GOTHENBURG: The number of mobile apps downloaded around the world increased by 104% in 2012, surpassing 60bn as a result, new figures show.

A new report from Berg Insight, the research firm, says there were 60.1bn downloads in 2012, compared to 29.5bn in 2011.

And it forecasts a further 80% growth out to 2017, by when there will be 108bn downloads annually.

During 2012, those 60bn apps generated an estimated €6.4bn in revenues, including direct revenues and in-app ad revenues, and Berg predicts this total will grow to reach €14.1bn in 2017.

Direct revenues, which include paid applications, in-app purchases and subscription services, accounted for some 80% of the total in 2012, at €5.1bn.

But this proportion is set to fall as in-app advertising develops. By 2017, Berg forecasts that this sector will account for 25% of all app revenues and be worth £3.5bn.

"Every app can find its own way to success, but common strategies today among many of the top revenue generating app developers are to publish apps featuring a social layer on more than one platform using free to download monetisation," said Johan Svanberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight.

In terms of distribution, Apple's App Store and Google Play led the increase in downloads during 2012. And these two are expected to represent 62% of all app downloads by 2017.

While Apple's App Store is the leader in monetisation of mobile apps, third party app stores pushed Android into the leading platform position in terms of the number of downloads during 2012.

"Third party app stores are especially popular in China and other markets where Google Play hasn't become the default on-device app store," noted Svanberg, although monetisation has proved difficult in these markets.

The most successful approaches have been free to download strategies, such as in-app advertising and in-app payments.

Data sourced from Berg Insight/Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff