More than 16 billion transport and events tickets a year will be delivered to mobile handsets globally by 2018, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
The report found that adoption will be particularly strong across metro and bus ticketing, especially in the US where the system is relatively unused in transport.
A large level of growth in sport, entertainment and flight across the world is also expected.
The report found that Sweden is taking the lead in the use of mobile barcode-based ticketing for public transport, where it now accounts for 65 per cent of bus ticket sales.
The Swedish system currently uses text messaging to distribute barcode tickets, but Juniper argues that an app-based system to deliver the tickets will take over globally as smartphone adoption rapidly increases.
It will be the app-based sales that account for the majority of transactions rather than SMS, the report concludes.
The research also found that a number of transport and event ticketing companies believe mobile delivery provides an opportunity to increase profitability and customer retention.
Through apps, digital loyalty programmes can be added, and there is also the possibility of marketing further products to the user.
Author of the report, Dr Windsor Holden said, "The airline industry in particular has led the way in utilising mobile as a sales and loyalty channel. More than half of airlines are planning major investments in mobile over the next three years, employing mobile as a means of enhance customer self-service options throughout the end-to-end passenger travel process."
London-based startup YPlan, which "closes the loop between listing, booking, and paperless ticketing," recently announced plans to expand its operations internationally.