Worldwide mobile application store downloads are forecast to reach 17.7 billion downloads in 2011, a 117 percent increase from an estimated 8.2 billion downloads in 2010.
"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," said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.
Free downloads are forecast to account for 81 percent of total mobile application store downloads in 2011. This percentage has been decreasing since the first launches in 2008, and Gartner estimates free downloads will continue to decrease in 2011, but it will increase again from 2012 through 2014. According to Gartner: “users will begin paying for more applications as they perceive values in the concept of mobile applications, and they become more trustful of billing mechanisms.”
In 2010, application stores' revenue is estimated to have reached $5.2 billion, both from end users buying applications and applications generating advertising revenue for their developers. The growth between 2010 and 2014 is forecast be over 1,000 percent. By the end of 2014, advertising will be generating a little under a third of the revenue created by application stores, up from 16 percent in 2010.