Report: 185 Billion Mobile Apps To Be Downloaded By 2014

According to Gartner, the global mobile app store downloads are estimated to reach 17.7 billion downloads in 2011, representing a 117 percent increase from 8.2 billion downloads in 2010. Gartner further predicts that by the end of 2014, as many as 185 billion apps would have been downloaded from mobile app stores - ever since the first mobile app store was launched in July 2008.

apples app store According to Gartner, the global mobile app store downloads are estimated to reach 17.7 billion downloads in 2011, representing a 117 percent increase from 8.2 billion downloads in 2010. Gartner further predicts that by the end of 2014, as many as 185 billion apps would have been downloaded from mobile app stores – ever since the first mobile app store was launched in July 2008.

Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner thinks that although there is a huge opportunity in this space, apps would have to become more superior in functionality and user experience. According to Stephanie:

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. We strongly believe there is a sizable opportunity for application stores in the future. However, applications will have to grow up and deliver a superior experience to the one that a Web-based app will be able to deliver. Native apps will survive the Web enhancements only when they will provide a more-personal and richer experience to the ‘vanilla’ experience that a Web-based app will deliver.

Revenues from mobile app stores is expected to surpass $15.1 billion in 2011, marking a 190 percent increase from $5.2 billion in 2010. The $15.1 billion in app store revenues takes into account revenues from end user app buying, and purchase of virtual goods from within the apps.

A large chunk of mobile app revenues are likely to come from the sale of in-app items, since around 81 percent of all mobile app downloads in 2011 are expected to be initially free – but monetized via in-app purchases during the lifetime of the app. Gartner estimates that free downloads will decrease a little in 2011, but will start increasing again from 2012 onwards.

A lot of players entered the Mobile App store eco-system in 2010, with Android’s Market, Nokia’s Ovi Store, Research In Motion’s (RIM’s) App World, Microsoft Marketplace and Samsung Apps emerging as key competitors to Apple’s App Store. However, Apple has maintained its early mover advantage and enjoys a significant lead over the competition, with 9 out of 10 apps being downloaded from Apple’s App Store.

Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, thinks that “Apple’s App Store drove close to nine application downloads out of 10 in 2010 and will remain the single best-selling store across our forecast period (through 2014), although to a lesser extent, as other stores manage to gain momentum.”

Recent reports show, that Apple is also planning to turn its mobile devices into virtual credit cards. This would enable iPhone/iPad users to buy apps from the app stores, songs from iTunes, or make other purchases by directly tapping into their bank accounts instead of using credit cards. Currently Apple has to pay a transactional fees to financial organizations in order to process each and every credit card payment. Apple expects to save transactional costs on billions of purchases via its App Store and iTunes Store, in addition to grabbing a piece of the $6.2 trillion that US consumers spend on buying goods and services each year.