Gartner has released some research findings that indicate consumers will spend $6.2 billion in 2010 in mobile application stores. Meanwhile, advertising revenue is expected to generate $0.6 billion worldwide.
According to Gartner, mobile app stores will exceed 4.5 billion downloads in 2010, eight out of ten of which will be free. Gartner also forecasts worldwide downloads in mobile application stores to surpass 21.6 billion by 2013, and free downloads to account for 82% of all downloads in 2010 (87% in 2013).
"As smartphones grow in popularity and application stores become the focus for several players in the value chain, more consumers will experiment with application downloads," said Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner. "Games remain the No. 1 application, and mobile shopping, social networking, utilities and productivity tools continue to grow and attract increasing amounts of money."
"Growth in smartphone sales will not necessarily mean that consumers will spend more money, but it will widen the addressable market for an offering that will be advertising-funded," added Baghdassarian. "The value chain of the application stores will evolve as rules are set and broken in an attempt to find the most profitable business model for all parties involved."
"Application stores will be a core focus throughout 2010 for the mobile industry and applications themselves will help determine the winner among mobile devices platforms," said Carolina Milanesi, another research director at Gartner. "Consumers will have a wide choice of stores and will seek the ones that make it easy for them to discover applications they are interested in and make it easy to pay for them when they have to. Developers will have to consider carefully not only which platform to support but also which store to promote their applications in."
Some of Gartners numbers have been brought into question by another research firm, comScore. In reference to a Gartner claim that Apple App Store downloads accounted for 99.4% of all mobile app downloads in 2009, comScore analyst Alistair Hill is quoted as saying, "I think somebody's missed something out on the maths there...I find that hard to believe. We know iPhone users buy a lot more apps than anybody else, but that still doesn't work."
Still, we haven't seen anything solid to dispute the claim. But we might see something surface soon.