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Mobile app stores annual downloads to touch 102 billion in 2013 news
19 September 2013

Mobile applications stores will see annual downloads reaching 102 billion in 2013, up from 64 billion in 2012.

The total revenues in 2013 will reach $26 billion, up from $18 billion in 2012.

Free applications would account for 91 per cent of total downloads in 2013, reveals a new study by research and analysis firm Gartner.

Gartner said that in-app purchases (IAPs) will account for 48 per cent of app store revenue by 2017, up from 11 per cent in 2012.

"We expect strong growth in downloads through 2014, but growth is forecast to slow down a bit in later years," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner.

"The average downloads per device should be high in early years as users get new devices and discover the apps they like. Over time they accumulate a portfolio of apps they like and stick to, so there will be moderate numbers of downloads in the later years,'' Shen added.

"Free apps currently account for about 60 per cent and 80 per cent of the total available apps in Apple's App Store and Google Play, respectively," said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

"Free applications currently account for about 60 per cent and 80 per cent of the total available applications in Apple's App Store and Google Play, respectively," said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

"iOS and Android app stores combined are forecast to account for 90 per cent of global downloads in 2017. These app stores are still increasingly active due to richer ecosystems and large and very active developer communities. However, we expect average monthly downloads per iOS device to decline from 4.9 in 2013 to 3.9 in 2017, while average monthly downloads per Android device will decline from 6.2 in 2013 to 5.8 in 2017. This relates back to the overall trend of users using the same apps more often rather than downloading new ones," Blau added.

IAP purchases will drive 17 per cent of the store revenue in 2013 and increase to 48 per cent in 2017.

However, as with downloads, IAP is expected to have strong growth in 2013 and 2014 and slow in later years. This is due to smart devices reaching more mass-market consumers whose willingness and/or affordability to spend on IAPs is lower than early adopters. Nevertheless, IAP will become a major monetisation method for apps stores and developers.

Research shows that IAP contributes to a significant amount of Apple's App Store revenue from iPhones worldwide. Other platforms have not reached such high levels as the iPhone, but analysts expect they will also see IAP contributions increase in the future.

"We see that users are not put off by the fact that they have already paid for an app, and are willing to spend more if they are happy with the experience, said Blau. "As a result, we believe that IAP is a promising and sustainable monetization method because it encourages performance-based purchasing; that is, users only pay when they are happy with the experience, and developers have to work hard to earn the revenue through good design and performance."

Table 1. Global mobile app store downloads (between 2010-2016 / in millions of downloads)
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
Free downloads
57,331
82,876
127,704
167,054
211,313
253,914
Paid-for downloads
6,654
9,186
11,105
12,574
13,488
14,778
Total downloads
63,985
102,062
138,809
179,628
224,801
268,692
Free downloads %
89.6
91.0
92.0
93.0
94.0
94.5
Source: Gartner (September 2013)





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Mobile app stores annual downloads to touch 102 billion in 2013