$6bn bonanza for mobile apps in 2010, says Gartner

Mobile phone users will download more than eight billion applications this year, pushing spending in app stores to $6.2bn, despite 80% of them being free,...

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Mobile phone users will download more than eight billion applications this year, pushing spending in app stores...

to $6.2bn, despite 80% of them being free, predicts market analyst Gartner.

Gartner said worldwide downloads in mobile application stores would pass 21.6 billion by 2013. Free downloads would account for 82% of all downloads in 2010, and for 87% of downloads in 2013, it said.

Gartner research director Stephanie Baghdassarian said, "As smartphones grow in popularity and application stores become the focus in the value chain, more consumers will experiment with downloads."

Games will remain the most popular product, with mobile shopping, social networking, utilities and productivity tools growing and attracting greater spending, she said.

Baghdassarian predicted market disruption as the players in the supply chain tried to find the most profitable distribution model.

She said developers would either charge for delivery of goods ordered through the app, or sell advertising delivered via the app.

Baghdassarian said app stores' download revenue exceeded $4.2bn in 2009, and predicted it will grow to $29.5bn by the end of 2013. This includes user spending on paid-for applications and advertising-sponsored free applications. Advertising-sponsored mobile applications will generate almost 25% of mobile application stores' revenue by 2013.

But this could be short-lived. "Smartphone users will become less tech-savvy as smartphones come down in price, and these users will be more reluctant to pay for applications," she said.

Carolina Milanesi, a research director at Gartner, said the mobile industry would focus on app stores this year. "The applications themselves will help determine the winner among mobile devices platforms. Developers will have to consider carefully not only which platform to support, but also which store to use to promote their applications."


 Mobile app stores' number of downloads and revenue, worldwide 

 2009  2010  2013
 Downloads (in millions)




 Total revenue (in $m)




Source: Gartner (December 2009)



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