Mobile Apps To Hit 25 Billion By 2015 - InformationWeek

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Mobile Apps To Hit 25 Billion By 2015

Rise in proprietary app stores to propel a nearly ten-fold increase in the number of mobile downloads each year, says Juniper Research.

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The number of consumer-oriented mobile app downloads is expected to reach more than 25 billion per year in 2015, up from under 2.6 billion in 2009, according to a new report from U.K.-based Juniper Research. The firm is attributing the staggering increase to the rise in the number of dedicated app stores being deployed by network operators and vendors.

New entries in the mobile app value chain are looking to replicate what Apple has done with its App Store by launching proprietary brand storefronts, the report said, citing China Unicom's Mobile Market, Bharti's Airtel App Central, and the Apps & Games Shop on Vodafone 360, as examples. Established mobile app store providers such as GetJar, which surpassed one billion downloads in early July, have also reaped the benefits of moving to an app-centric model, according to Juniper Research.

But in order to attract developers to design unique content for them, new app store providers must be able to demonstrate sufficient scale, Juniper Research emphasized.

"Apple has been able to achieve several billion downloads from a comparatively small handset base because customers are buying the iPhone for the apps,'' said the report's author and principal analyst at Juniper Research, Dr. Windsor Holden, in a statement. "That's not been the case with other handsets. So even if you have a subscriber base of tens of millions, your addressable market is a fraction of that -- and spread across a variety of operating systems and handsets."

One dynamic in the report's findings is that publishers are more frequently offering apps for free at point-of-sale in a "freemium" model, and are eventually monetizing them through in-app billing of subscription-based services, upgrades to premium content, or micropayments for virtual items, the firm said.

The report examines the challenges of an app store-centric ecosystem. The regions covered are North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Far East & China, Indian Sub Continent, the rest of Asia Pacific, and Africa and the Middle East, in the categories of games, lifestyle and healthcare, education and reference, multimedia and entertainment, finance and productivity, and social networking.

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