Mobile application store downloads are expected to surge 117% in 2011, growing more than 1,000% by 2014.
According to the latest figures by research firm, Gartner, worldwide app store sales are anticipated to surpass $15.1bn in 2011, a 190% increase on 2010 sales.
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Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner, said free app downloads will account for 81% of downloads this year.
"We strongly believe there is a sizeable opportunity for application stores in the future. 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," she said.
"Native apps will survive the web enhancements only when they will provide a more personal and richer experience to the 'vanilla' experience that a web-based app will deliver," she added.
Stephanie Baghdassarian said application stores have become a crucial part of the smartphone ecosystem.
As tablet devices drive increased app downloads, Apple's app store is expected to remain the most successful mobile app store.