Technology analysts Gartner are adamant that the mobile application market is going to exploded over the next four years with the number of apps downloaded in 2010 reaching £3.7 billion worldwide.
In 2009, smartphone users spent a staggering £2.5 billion. Gartner reckons that revenue from the app market will hit a mind boggling $29 billion (or £18 billion) in 2013 as the number of smartphones rises significantly and users become more accustomed with mobile shopping.
Most applications are free or supported by adverts with around a fifth of applications actually costing anything. Gartner reckons that up to around 25 percent of the total app revenue will be derived from advertising rather than customers buying them.
The report did not mention whether the numbers offering software-as-a-subscription will increase with time as a way of maintaining a steady revenue stream and locking customers.
Carolina Milanese, research director at Gartner, posits that consumers will go for the apps that are the easiest to use from a wide range of what's available. She added that “Developers will have to consider carefully not only which platform to support but also which store to promote their applications in."
Most applications purchased are games with m-commerce, utilities, social networking and productivity apps growing in popularity fast.
The market is currently dominated by Apple's iPhone with more than 100,000 applications with Android far behind with around 20,000 apps and significantly less application downloads. The rest of the ecosystem consists of Palm OS, Blackberry OS, Windows Mobile, LiNo and a host of other lesser known platforms.