According to new research from Berg Insight, the number of mobile application downloads will reach 98 billion by 2015. The number will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 56.6% between 2010 and 2015, the analyst firm reports. App store revenue will also grow, to reach € 8.8 billion in 2015, or $11.8 billion in U.S. dollars.
Last year, revenues from paid apps, in-app purchases and subscription services reached € 1.6 billion, or $2.15 billion U.S. This direct app store revenue will grow 40.7% from 2010 to 2015 before reaching $11.8 billion U.S.
Not surprisingly, Apple’s iOS was found to be the leader in direct monetization of mobile applications, and Berg predicts that will continue to be the case through 2015. It also predicts that Android will be #2 and Windows Phone will be #3 in terms of direct monetization.
More difficult will be how that revenue will be generated. Senior Analyst Johan Svanberg says that even though download numbers are increasing, most apps are free. That means free-to-download monetization strategies like in-app advertising and in-app purchasing, for example, will be increasingly important. This is especially true in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, which will account for over 40% of all app downloads by 2015.
Svanberg downplayed the effect of HTML5 advances during this time frame, too, saying that they’ll “eventually” be relevant alternatives to native apps, but for the next five years, the mobile app is here to stay. However, Web apps and native apps aren’t mutually exclusive, he notes, and developers looking to maximize reach should also build for the Web.