A new report published today by Juniper Research suggests mobile app downloads will surpass 25 billion by 2015, up from just 2.6 billion in 2009.
According to the report, players across the mobile value chain are seeking to emulate Apple’s success with the App Store by launching their own branded storefronts, such as the ‘Mobile Market’ from China Unicom, ‘Airtel App Central’ from Bharti and the ‘Apps & Games Shop’ on Vodafone 360. The transition to an app-centric environment has also benefited more established storefronts such as GetJar, which passed 1 billion downloads earlier this month.
Interestingly, the report noted that “freemium” was becoming the prevalent business model, with publishers increasingly offering applications free at point of sale and subsequently monetizing them via in-app billing of subscription-based services, upgrades to premium content or micropayments for virtual items. Still, the report offered caution to those seeking app store launches, saying they’d need to demonstrate sufficient scale to be able to induce developers to provide them with unique content.
“Apple has been able to achieve several billion downloads from a comparatively small handset base because customers are buying the iPhone for the apps,” noted report author Dr Windsor Holden. “That’s not been the case with other handsets. 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”.