App downloads double in 2012

Michael Carroll
22 Feb 2013

Mobile app downloads more than doubled to 60.1 billion in 2012, and will keep growing to hit 108 billion in 2017, research firm Berg Insight claims.

Total downloads grew from 29.5 billion in 2011, fuelled mostly by Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play. However, third party app stores also played a part in the year-on-year growth, pushing Android to the top of the list of operating systems.

“Third party app stores are especially popular in China and other markets where Google Play hasn’t become the default on-device app store,” says Johan Svanberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight.

However, the growth in downloads isn’t necessarily being transferred into hard cash, the research firm notes. Direct and in-app ad revenues hit €6.4 billion ($8.44 billion) in 2012, and are tipped to grow to €14.1 billion by 2017.

Revenue generation is not being helped by the popularity of free apps, however such applications are a key way for developers to reach consumers, Svanberg notes. “[C]ommon strategies today among many of the top revenue generating app developers are to publish apps featuring a social layer on more than one platform using free to download monetization.”

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