Mobile apps will be generating revenue of over $77 billion by 2017, making apps one of the most popular computing tools across the globe, according to research firm Gartner.
That year, Gartner also predicts that mobile apps will be downloaded more than 268 billion times, while mobile users will provide personalized data streams to more than 100 apps and services every day.
“Mobile apps have become the official channel to drive content and services to consumers. From entertainment content to productivity services, from quantified-self to home automation, there is an app for practically anything a connected consumer may want to achieve,” said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.
He said this connection to consumer services means users are constantly funnelling data through mobile apps.
Apps often provide an opportunity for brands to reach and engage with customers in a direct way, and therefore data coming from the user is often treated as a resource. This is especially true of free apps, which in 2013 account for 92% of app downloads. App users are providing troves of data and often accept advertising or data connectivity in exchange for access to the app.
Gartner said that brands and businesses are already using mobile apps as a primary component of their user engagement strategies, and as the use of mobile devices, including wearable devices, expands into other areas of consumer and business activities, mobile apps will become even more significant.
“In the next three to four years, apps will no longer be simply confined to smartphones and tablets, but will impact a wider set of devices, from home appliances to cars and wearable devices," Balu said. “By 2017, Gartner predicts that wearable devices will drive 50% of total app interactions.”