Mobile app downloads are on pace to hit a mind-boggling number within three years, according to new data from Gartner.
By 2017, mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times, generating revenue of more than $77 billion and making apps “one of the most popular computing tools for users across the globe.”
Not surprisingly, free apps dominate the download landscape today. In fact, last year, more than 90% of all downloaded apps were free.
“Mobile apps have become the official channel to drive content and services to consumers. From entertainment content to productivity services, from quantified-self to home automation, there is an app for practically anything a connected consumer may want to achieve,” said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner. “This connection to consumer services means users are constantly funneling data through mobile apps. As users continue to adopt and interact with apps, it is their data — what they say, what they do, where they go — that is transforming the app interaction paradigm.”
Currently, apps often provide an opportunity for brands to reach and engage with customers in a direct way, and therefore data coming from the user is often treated as a resource.
Gartner asserts that brands and businesses are already using mobile apps as a primary component of their user engagement strategies, and as the use of mobile devices, including wearable devices, expands into other areas of consumer and business activities, mobile apps will become even more significant.