The Decade of 350 Billion App Downloads

Between 2008 and 2017, Google Play and Apple’s App Store will be responsible for a mind-blowing number of mobile app downloads: 350 billion.

According to the new Strategy Analytics App Ecosystem Opportunities (AEO) forecast – Mobile Apps Download Forecast: 2008 – 2017 – paid downloads will generate more than $57 billion globally within the time frame projected.

The report, however, does show that paid apps begin to decline as free apps come to represent more than 91 percent of all downloads. This will be the reality by 2017.

The decline in revenue and increase in app store maintenance costs – including app approval personnel, marketing, and other maintenance costs – may force app stores to consider new revenue streams or higher revenue splits.

“Paid downloads remain an essential component of the app ecosystem,” writes Josh Martin, Director of Apps Research. “Paid downloads will remain an important way for smaller developers to monetize their efforts. For developers committed to paid downloads transitioning to tablets may be the smartest way to preserve the business model over the long term.”

The report also suggests that while Apple and Google will remain the dominant smartphone and tablet titans for the time being, newer platforms such as Windows 8, BlackBerry 10, Tizen and Firefox are building their operating systems and storefronts, which have the potential to become “attractive to developers and end users.”