Mobile application downloads are set to explode in the coming years, a new study from analyst firm Berg Insight has found.
According to the firm, total app downloads in 2015 will reach 98 billion. If they hit that figure, the firm says, the compound annual growth rate of downloads between 2010 and 2015 will be 56.6 percent.
Berg is far more bullish on the future of mobile apps than In-Stat. That research firm said earlier this year that it believes mobile app downloads will reach 48 billion in 2015, due mainly to the growing popularity of touch-screen-equipped smartphones. In-Stat says that approximately 90 percent of all smartphones shipped this year will feature touch screens, and that figure will grow to nearly 100 percent of smartphones in the next several years.
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Even though application stores have a long way to go to catch the estimates set forth by Berg and In-Stat, they've already enjoyed some success. Apple, for example, announced in January that 10 billion apps had been downloaded from its App Store since its launch in 2008. Just six months later, the company tallied 5 billion more downloads to hit the 15-billion-downloads mark.
Turning to the business side of the industry, Berg said today that the financial success of mobile apps is due in large part to Apple's App Store, noting that Apple is the "current leader in direct monetization of mobile applications, and will keep the No. 1 position during the forecast period."
Speaking of monetization, Berg sees the mobile market increasingly relying upon apps users can download for free. The company said that developers will be able to generate more revenue by getting users to pay for additional features and virtual goods from within the program.
"Free to download monetization strategies such as in-app advertising and in-app purchasing will be increasingly important," Johan Svanberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight, said in a statement.
There is a lot riding on those strategies. According to Berg, total app revenue in 2010 hit $2.15 billion. By 2015, that figure will grow to nearly $12 billion.