The mobile app market is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, according to new research from Gartner. About 46 billion mobile app downloads will be downloaded this year, nearly double the 25 billion downloads for last year. Free apps will continue to be the most downloaded. According to the report, free apps constitute 89% of downloads. For the 11% that cost money, 90% of it is under $3.
Gartner expects 310 billion downloads by 2016 with free apps at about 93% of all downloads. The growing number of downloads help app developers monetize their apps beyond mobile advertising with other monetization models such as in-app purchases, subscriptions and other ways to get users to pay later for content. In-app purchases alone, Gartner predicts, will drive 41% of all app revenues by 2016.
Which platform is dominating? Apple still leads with its iOS with 21 billion of the 45.6 billion mobile app downloads this year. However, other platforms are making a big push. Google with its Android stores, Microsoft with its Marketplace, and RIM with its app stores, are driving non iOS downloads. While Apple’s growth is at 74% this year compared to last, it is still being outpaced by the overall growth of app downloads, which will have grown by 83%.
Gartner’s report also shows how third-party stores have a role to play in app downloads. Amazon’s Appstore and Facebook’s App Center for example are two competitors to the platform stores. As long as people use Facebook in large numbers, social gaming and other apps will continue to be downloaded in large numbers from there.
How many apps have you downloaded? And how many of them are free apps?
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