According to new projections put forward this week by Juniper Research, more than 160 billion apps will be downloaded globally onto consumer handsets and tablets in 2017.
Spiking upward from 80 billion in 2013, the surge in app downloads will come as a direct result of many consumers in developing markets upgrading from featurephones to smartphones.
Also boosting the download surge is the perpetually-expanding market of no-cost or freemium apps.
The report, Future App Stores: Discovery, Monetization & Ecosystem Analysis 2013 – 2018, found that the majority of annual downloads will be in the games category, with at least 40% of downloads arising from this area.
Juniper does note, however, that challenges will remain for developers to profit from their apps, “as the downward pressure on pricing leaves many the only option to offer their apps for free at the point of download.”
The rise of the app store has, also, effectively cut many Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) out of the value chain, Juniper says.
“Carrier billing has become an increasingly viable option for MNOs who want to see a share of app store revenues, and also for app stores who want to distribute their content to unbanked consumers,” observes report author Siân Rowlands. “However, MNOs must realize they won’t see as great a revenue share as they did during the pre-app store era.”