Consumers across the globe will download 17.7 billion applications from mobile app stores in 2011--up from 8.2 billion in 2010, translating to a 117 percent leap--according to research and advisory firm Gartner. App store revenues are anticipated to exceed $15.1 billion by year's end, compared to $5.2 billion a year ago, with both premium app downloads and in-app advertising galvanizing revenue growth. Nevertheless, Gartner expects free applications will make up 81 percent of all downloads this year, explaining that consumers will begin paying for more applications once they've fully grasped the value of the mobile software experience and become more trustful of billing mechanisms.
Looking ahead, Gartner believes worldwide app store downloads will top 185 billion by the close of 2014, roughly 6.5 years on from the July 2008 introduction of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store. By that time, advertising will yield a little less than a third of all app store revenues, up from 16 percent in 2010.
"While the average number of downloads per device onto a smartphone will remain stable as the market grows, it must be assumed that media tablets will drive more downloads from consumers, boosting the overall average downloads per device," said Gartner research vice president Carolina Milanesi in a statement. "We estimate that Apple's App Store drove close to nine application downloads out of 10 in 2010 and will remain the single best-selling store across our forecast period (through 2014), although to a lesser extent, as other stores manage to gain momentum."
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