Mobile application downloads will shoot up by 117% in 2011
Research firm Gartner has predicted that mobile application downloads will shoot up by 117% in 2011, and by up by 1,000% in 2014.
Global app store sales are expected to exceed $15.1 billion (£9.3 billion) in 2011, up 190% compared with 2010 sales, according to a report by the firm. This year, free app downloads are likely to represent 81% of downloads.
Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner, said: "We strongly believe there is a sizeable opportunity for application stores in the future. However, applications will have to grow up and deliver a superior experience to the one that a web-based app will be able to deliver.
"Native apps will survive the web enhancements only when they will provide a more personal and richer experience to the 'vanilla' experience that a web-based app will deliver."
Commenting on the significance of application stores, Ms Baghdassarian said they have become a crucial part of the smartphone ecosystem.
Apple's mobile app store is likely to continue dominating the space, followed by other app stores including Google's Android Market, Nokia's Ovi Store, Research in Motion's App World, Microsoft Marketplace and Samsung Apps.
Copyright Press Association 2011