Mobile users will spend $6.2 billion this year in mobile application stores, compared with global mobile advertising revenues of just $600 million, according to global research firm Gartner.
Gartner said that more than $4.2 billion was spent on mobile apps in 2009, with Apple accounting for at least 99.4% of last year’s 2.5 billion mobile apps downloads.
The firm predicts that mobile app store downloads will exceed 4.5 billion in 2010 and surpass 21.6 billion by 2013.
That would put mobile apps revenues at near $29.5 billion by 2013, according to Gartner.
Free downloads are expected to account for 82% of all downloads this year, with this figure tipped to increase to 87% of downloads in 2013.
“As smartphones grow in popularity and application stores become the focus for several players in the value chain, more consumers will experiment with application downloads,” said Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner.
“Games remain the no. 1 application. Mobile shopping, social networking, utilities and productivity tools continue to grow and attract increasing amounts of money.”
Earlier this month, Apple reported more than 3 billion applications had been downloaded from its iPhone and iPod Touch devices.
The firm’s App Store success has spawned a plethora of rivals from other handset firms such as RIM, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, Palm and Google. Tier 1 carriers Verizon, China Mobile and Vodafone have also entered the market.
Samsung Electronics this week announced the expansion of its application store, Samsung Apps, to China, Singapore, Germany and Brazil.