Paid app downloads will generate more than $57bn (£35.8bn) globally between 2008 and 2017, according to a report from Strategy Analytics. The number of apps downloaded, on smartphones and tablets, over the same period will total 350bn.
Increasingly, the free apps will make up the majority of downloads, making up more than 91 per cent of all downloads by 2017, meaning the average price of an app will fall to 8 cents. It sounds dramatic, but it's worth noting that this average takes both free and paid apps into account – between paid apps, that puts the average price at around 99 cents, the most common price point currently.
On smartphones, Android will make up the biggest share of the app market, accounting for 45 per cent of app downloads in 2017. Apple, meanwhile, will continue its dominance of the tablet market, at a reduced level, making up 56 per cent of tablet app downloads.
“For developers committed to paid downloads, transitioning to tablets may be the smartest way to preserve the business model over the long term,” said Josh Martin, Strategy Analytics' director of apps research. “App stores will also see a revenue crunch as more revenue is earned from advertising – revenue generated outside the bounds of the app store - and will need to prepare for this. Newer platforms such as Windows 8, BB10, Tizen and Firefox are building their operating systems and storefronts with this knowledge which should go a long way to making them attractive to developers and end users.”