Metrics firm Gartner sees continued growth in the number of downloads from mobile app stores in 2013. In fact Gartner sees 102 billion downloads attributable to mobile app stores this year. That is a gain of 59.38% from the 64 billion that took place last year. And as you might suspect, the increasing number of downloads coincides with the growth in revenue expected to be generated by mobile stores like the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Windows Phone Store. Revenue is forecast to hit $26 billion in 2013, up 44.45% from last year's $18 billion in revenue.
Gartner also predicts growth in free apps compared to overall downloads. This year, those apps requiring no cost to download will make up 91% of all app installations, rising to 94.5% by 2017. And the metrics firm believes that in-app purchases will grow faster than premium apps according to Gartner. Paid apps (aka premium apps) will grow at an annual compound growth rate of 14.22% from 2012-2017. Meanwhile, during the same time period, in-app purchases should grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 27.83%.
"Free apps currently account for about 60 percent and 80 percent of the total available apps in Apple's App Store and Google Play, respectively. Android and iOS app stores combined are forecast to account for 90 percent 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."-Brian Blau, research director, Gartner
That means that the money charged by game developers for things like extra lives or special weapons, will account for 48% of mobile app store revenue by 2017, up from the 11% it represented last year. In-app purchases happen to represent a large chunk of the revenue racked up by the Apple App Store, more so than for other platforms. Eventually, Gartner sees the other platforms come close to catching up to Apple in this regard.
Gartner sees continued growth in the number of annual downloads from mobile app stores