Mobile app store downloads to top 100 billion this year, says Gartner

Apple, Google will continue to dominate the mobile app download market
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Mobile app stores are forecast by Gartner to top 100 billion downloads this year, up from 64 billion last year.

Total revenue generated by mobile app stores is expected to reach $26 billion this year, up from $18 billion last year. At the same time, free apps will account for 91 percent of total downloads this year.

Free apps account for 60 percent of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store downloads, while they account for 80 percent of Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Google Play downloads, according to Gartner.

While only 17 percent of mobile app store revenue will be generated through in-app purchases this year, that figure is predicted by Gartner to reach 48 percent by 2017. The research firm noted that in-app purchases contribute a "significant amount" of Apple's App Store revenue from iPhones.

"We believe that IAP [in-app purchasing] 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," says Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

Apple's App Store and Google Play are expected to dominate the mobile app download market through 2017. "iOS and Android 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," notes Blau.

"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," he adds.

For more:
- check out Gartner's stats
- see the App Annie blog

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