Gartner adds to recent hype surrounding mobile applications
A recent study published by market research firm Gartner provides more evidence of the exploding
popularity of mobile applications for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
According to the company's latest report, mobile application marketplaces are forecasted to reach 17.7
billion downloads this year. The figure is a 117 percent increase over the estimated 8.2 billion
downloads Gartner counted for 2010.
It's also an impressive number considering the most popular marketplace among them, Apple's App
Store, recently surpassed 10 billion downloads a little more than two years after it went live.
"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," Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner, said. "We
strongly believe there is a sizable opportunity for application stores in the future."
Of course, as mobile app downloads increase, so too will revenues. App marketplace revenues are
projected to surpass $15.1 billion this year from the two-pronged effect of end-users' purchases and the
applications themselves generating revenues through mobile advertising, according to Gartner.
In 2010, marketplaces experienced revenue of $5.2 billion, which means there will be a 190 percent
increase this year.
Other Gartner research suggests that mobile advertising may play a large role in the growth of app store
revenue. According to the firm, an overwhelming 81 percent of total app downloads this year will be
free apps. However, that number has declined since app stores were launched in 2008.
Gartner predicts the decline to continue this year, but for free app downloads to increase between 2012
and 2014. By that time, advertising will generate slightly less than 33 percent of app store revenue. It's
currently 16 percent, according to Gartner.
As far as the key driver for mobile app proliferation, Gartner points to the exploding popularity of
"It must be assumed that media tablets will drive more downloads from consumers," said Carolina
Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
Fellow research firm IDC recently released its own report on projected growth for mobile applications.
That report pegged the number of mobile app downloads at 10 billion for 2010, a number that will
increase to 25 billion this year. And it will keep growing at a compound annual growth rate of 60
percent, IDC said. The firm also predicted that sales of app-enabled devices will outpace PC sales in the
next 18 months.
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