Paid mobile apps to generate $57 billion by 2017, says Strategy Analytics

350 billion mobile apps will be downloaded between 2008 and 2017

Paid mobile apps downloads are expected to generate more than $57 billion globally between 2008 and 2017, despite a shift toward free app downloads over the period, according to the latest estimate by Strategy Analytics.

The research predicts that more than 350 billion smartphone and tablet apps will be downloaded between 2008 and 2017, with 45 percent of smartphone apps downloaded from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Play and 56 percent of tablet apps downloaded from the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) Store.

During this period, free apps are predicted to make up more than 91 percent of all downloads by 2017. This will push the average price of smartphone apps to just 8 cents by 2017.

Gartner found similar trends in a study released in September. It expects free apps to account for 93 percent of total downloads by 2016, with total mobile app downloads reaching 310 billion by then.

App stores may have to consider other revenue streams as the maintenance costs increase, while revenues decrease as the result of the rise in free apps, observed Josh Martin, director of apps research at Strategy Analytics.

"For developers committed to paid downloads, transitioning to tablets may be the smartest way to preserve the business model over the long term," Martin said.

Gartner research director Brian Blau commented, "The number of apps available is driven by an increasing number of stores in the market today that include platform owners, device vendors, communication service providers and others who want to offer core mobile app services. These stores will see their combined share of total downloads increase, but demand for apps overall will still be dominated by Apple, Google and Microsoft."

Both Strategy Analytics and Gartner believe that Apple and Google will continue to be the dominant players in the mobile app download space, although Gartner has more confidence that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will be able to rival the other companies with demand generated from its Windows Phone 8 and Surface tablet offerings.

For more:
- see the Strategy Analytics release
- check out Gartner's release

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