Research firm Canalys predicts app store’s direct revenues will grow from $7.3 billion (€5 billion) this year to $14.1 billion in 2012, through a combination of app sales, in-app purchases and smart device subscriptions.
Consumer awareness of mobile apps and growing sales of smartphones and tablet PCs are driving the growth. The research firm expects 419 million apps-capable smartphones to ship in 2011, with tablet sales hitting 43 million, however it notes that mobile operators could cash in on that growth by offering more highly tailored apps than those provided directly by device vendors.
“Too much choice brings serious problems in terms of application discovery for both developers and users, which operators can turn to their advantage,” analyst Tim Shepherd notes.
Operators can compete by closely matching the applications offered in their stores to subscriber’s preferences, which will allow them to improve customer experience. “When it comes to detailed subscriber data, operators certainly have the competitive advantage,” Shepherd says, adding that carriers are “well positioned to propose targeted marketing services, such as promotions and recommendations…better localization, improved security and simpler billing.”