Report: Mobile app store downloads to hit 25 billion by 2015

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The app store train seems unstoppable. According to a Juniper Research report out today, the number of “consumer-oriented handset downloads” is expected to rise from less than 2.6 billion per-year in 2009 to more than 25 billion in 2015.

The trend, notes the report, is being driven by industry players who are seeking to emulate Apple’s success with the App Store by launching their own branded storefronts, such as ‘Mobile Market’ from China Unicom, ‘Airtel App Central’ from Bharti and the ‘Apps & Games Shop’ on Vodafone 360.

And let’s not forget Google’s Android, Nokia Ovi, Palm, Windows Phone etc. or the independent giant GetJar, which passed 1 billion downloads earlier this month.

In other words, app stores are here to stay. Juniper has a warning, however: Copying the Apple model isn’t as straight forward as it would seem.

The report cautions that “players seeking to launch app stores would need to demonstrate sufficient scale to be able to induce developers to provide them with unique content.” It’s the classic catch-22 developer story.

Build it and they will come doesn’t necessarily translate to the world of third-party developers unless you can convince them that you can shift enough handsets or, well, actually shift those wares first. But even that is too simple a description of the problem. Apple’s iPhone is in a unique position in that consumers buy the phone for the apps providing a ready-made market for third-party developers, while this isn’t traditionally true of other handsets.

As report author Dr Windsor Holden says, “Apple has been able to achieve several billion downloads from a comparatively small handset base because customers are buying the iPhone for the apps… So even if you have a subscriber base of tens of millions, your addressable market is a fraction of that – and spread across a variety of operating systems and handsets”.

That would, perhaps, explain the disparity between Nokia Ovi’s (Symbian) scale, for example, and the reluctance of a new generation of third-party developers to commit to the platform. The same could also be said of Vodafone 360 – remember that developer competition – but it’s still relatively early days on all non-Apple fronts.

Of course, all of this presumes that with the advent of HTML5, browser-based mobile apps won’t make a comeback or begin to hold their own. The technology, such as off-line storage, in-line video, and more dynamic user interfaces, has the potential to provide a native app-like user experience, negating the need for app stores in many types of use cases.

  • http://www.businesscloud9.com/summit/ Christophe

    25B downloads! That is incredible who needs that many apps on his phone. It would be interested to see if the business cloud-based applications (CRM, collaboration tools, e-recruitment, email-marketing…) follow a similar trend. Gartner predicts $150B for Cloud services by 2014, a third of that will be apps (SaaS) will they be built on PaaS such as Force.com, Google App Engine, Workxpress and distributed through Business App stores?
    Hopefully http://www.getapp.com will follow the steps of the mobile getjar, 1B downloads is very impressive.

    • leisah

      Take note Android 3.0 is just around the corner. Certainly, everything could be even more faster than what we expect.

      • James C.

        Who cares about Android and IOS, this is saturated market!!! Symbian has 39% of market share in smartphones (41% in 2009), all their phones supports Ovi store, this means a huge opportunity to make money if you are not a newbie lazy developer that never traveled abroad USA!!!

  • http://www.husseinz.wordpress.com Hussein

    2.6 billion in 2009 and 25 billion in 2015. I do not think that big improvement like this in just few years….

  • LC

    Who pay for this kind of studies, who believe them, who check them when results are measurable ?

    Or … does they have any other purpose than throwing erroneous or random data and forecasts to VCs ?

  • pk

    i seriously think, an average user use hardly 10 apps or 15 apps, then how come people endorse million apps on their app store?

  • http://www.drf.com.br Lucas

    Apple has already surpassed the microsoft due to the iphone. Application downloads has grown too.

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  • Digi

    More numbers: OVI Store was at 1.7 million downloads p/day, or 600 million p/y already last May, with the release of the N8 just around the door:

    State of the OVI Union:

    http://bit.ly/aliubQ

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  • http://N/A Iqbal Gandham

    Not sure why people keep talking about app store downloads, its like saying how many pieces of software were downloaded for our PC in the last 20 years.

    Appstores will become a bit like CNET, tucows, or those other software download sites of the 90’s, great place to get them initially but once too many stores occurs, software will again need to be searched for.

    Iqbal

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