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September 12, 2012

Worldwide mobile app downloads to cross 45.6 billion in 2012: report

The free apps will record 89% of 2012 total downloads

By CBR Staff Writer

Global mobile app downloads are expected to cross 45.6 billion in 2012 with free downloads accounting for 40.1 billion and paid downloads totaling 5 billion, according to Gartner.

Out of the total mobile app downloads, the free apps will account 89% of the downloads.

Gartner research director Sandy Shen said in terms of the apps that consumers are buying, 90% of the paid-for downloads cost less than $3 each.

"Similar to free apps, lower-priced apps will drive the majority of downloads. Apps between 99 cents and $2.99 will account for 87.5 percent of paid-for downloads in 2012, and 96 percent by 2016," Shen said.

According to Gartner, users expected to download more than 21 billion apps in 2012 from Apple’s App Store, which is 74% more than the the number of apps downloaded in 2011.

Gartner research director Brian Blau said Apple’s App Store accounts for 25% of available apps in all stores.

"The number of apps available is driven by an increasing number of stores in the market today that include platform owners, device vendors, communication service providers (CSPs) and others who want to offer core mobile app services," Blau said.

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"These stores will see their combined share of total downloads increase, but demand for apps overall will still be dominated by Apple, Google and Microsoft."

Apart from major app stores from global OS vendors, there are also stores from third parties that attract users with their brands.

"Amazon has appealed to users with its strong brand, global presence and a good selection of high-quality content while Facebook’s recently launched App Center — supporting both mobile devices and desktops — will become a powerful competitor due to its strong brand and leading position in social networking and gaming," Shen said.

"In China, there is a boom market of independent Android stores, due to the lack of presence of Google Play and ‘weak’ stores from CSPs."

According to Gartner, the in-app payments will make up 41% of app store revenue in 2016 and the number of downloads featuring in-app purchase will increase from 5% of total downloads in 2011 to 30% in 2016.

"App stores should support in-app purchases as soon as possible as this offers a new path of monetization, and helps to attract developers as they attempt to extend an app’s momentum by providing easy access to upgraded services and functionality," Blau said.

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