Mobile App Downloads Set to Grow 144 Percent in 2011, Totaling Over 18B

In a new report published today by analyst firm Ovum, it was predicted that worldwide mobile app downloads are set to grow 144% by the end of 2011, rounding out at roughly 18 billion total downloads — up from just under 7.5 billion a year earlier.

With this momentum, total mobile app downloads could exceed 45 billion by 2016, according to the research.  Premium revenue from mobile app downloads isn’t growing quite as quickly, but has still grown over 92% between 2010 and 2011, reaching a total of $3.7B by year’s end.  By 2016, revenues are expected to increase to nearly $7.7B.

In terms of the OS wars, the research predicts that while iOS will remain in the number one spot in terms of mobile app revenues, Android will quickly surpass iOS in terms of total mobile app downloads.  By 2016, iOS revenue is expected to reach $2.86B compared to roughly $1.5B for Android.  In terms of total downloads, Android should produce roughly 8.1B, according to the research, compared to 6B for iOS.

A part of the research I tend not to agree with is the continued proliferation of native mobile apps even as HTML5 becomes more prevalent.  “App stores offer a familiar environment for consumers to discover, download and purchase apps, and we anticipate that the majority of app stores will list a mix of both HTML5 and native applications in their catalogues in the future,” the research stated.  While this may be true in the short term, I still believe mobile Web apps will become the clear leader over the next couple years.