Direct and indirect revenues from mobile applications should exceed $25 billion by 2014, “with growth fueled by a raft of store launches targeting both high-end and mass market handsets,” according to a new report from Juniper Research issued on April 28. Can this be right? You bet.
Let’s look at the world’s most popular mobile app store to date, Apple’s. In its first half a year in operation, Apple iTunes App Store generated no more than $100 million in sales, according to this estimate. But the rate of purchases has since skyrocketed, so that, recently, it’s been estimated that the App Store sells $1 million worth of applications a day. That means that the App Store should generate at least $365 million in sales this year — despite the downturn in the economy.
The growth is likely to continue to be exponential, as many app stores still await to be launched, and as most smartphone owners still haven’t even tried downloading paid applications. Yet already, last year, 17% of smartphone users spent $100 or more on mobile apps. So it looks like people are increasingly open to spending on the applications.
One note of caution, however: I am not sure that other app stores can be as successful as Apple's. The several ones I've seen don't offer the easy-to-use menus and functions that the App Store does. And many handsets aren't as conducive to downloading and using applications as the iPhone and iPod touch. So the App Store's explosive growth may not be a good indication as to how fast the entire market grows.