Mobile app revenue will triple to $15 billion this year, Gartner says
Gartner Inc. on Wednesday predicted that mobile application revenue will nearly triple in 2011, to $15.1 billion, from $5.2 billion last year.
That will come from 18 billion downloads of the programs that run on a growing variety of smart phones and tablets from Apple Inc., Android, BlackBerry and others.
Apps were largely popularized by Apple after the release of its App Store in July 2008, which at the time had about 500 apps available for the company's iPhone and iPod Touch.
The store now has 350,000 apps available, including 60,000 designed for its iPad tablet computer. Last weekend Apple said it had sold 10 billion apps since the store had opened. Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi estimated that Apple drove 90% of app downloads in 2010.
As Verizon Wireless markets the iPhone next month, Apple's dominance stands to be bolstered even further.
"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, a research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "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."
Gartner said that about 80% of app downloads are free, but that over the next few years, users will begin paying for more of them as they come to trust the apps and associated payment mechanisms.
The company also said that by 2014, almost a third of app revenue will come from advertising, up from 16% in 2010.
-- David Sarno
Photo: Apple's app "hyperwall" at its retail store in San Francisco. Credit: Florianplag / Flickr.