A new report published by ABI Research predicts mobile application downloads to more than double worldwide in the next five years, confirming the sector as one of the boom cellular service industries over the next decade.
ABI expects mobile app downloads to top five billion by 2014, up from 2.3 billion in 2009. The growing adoption of smartphones which saw sales rise 20% in 2009, as well as the proliferation of application stores, are the major drivers for this expansive surge.
“The iPhone’s share of the app market will contract from its 2010 level during the latter part of the forecast period, but it will remain the leading platform for applications,” said wireless research associate Bhavya Khanna.
“The big beneficiary will be Android, which will see its market share of total application downloads increase from 11% of the market in 2009 to 23% in 2014. This rapid growth is driven by the mass adoption of the Android OS by both vendors and consumers from 2009 onwards.
“There are now more than 14 phones that run the Android OS, and many more will launch in 2010. This, coupled with the rollout of application stores from both smartphone vendors and network operators, will see the iPhone’s share of the total market shrink between 2010 and 2014.”
ABI Research expects revenue from mobile app sales to decline by 2013, as competition will lead to downward pressure on application prices, and a greater proportion of “must-have” applications will begin to face competition from free or advertising-supported substitutes. This has already started to happen, with the launch of Google’s free turn-by-turn navigation service.