UK mobile phone users are expected to spend £740m on downloads to their handsets this year, and the rate of sales is continuing to rise steadily.
Analyst firm Mintel reported that ring-tones are the most popular download, accounting for a third of all sales. Games make up over a quarter of the market, followed by wallpaper and screensavers.
"There is no denying that this sector has mushroomed," said Jenny Catlin, consumer analyst at Mintel.
"The rapid rise in sales of downloads has a lot to do with the public's acceptance of new technological solutions, such as DVDs, internet and other devices that have become integral parts of modern life.
"The user-friendly nature of downloading, which is really no more difficult or unfamiliar than texting, has also helped foster a sense that receiving downloads is a fun diversion."
Catlin believes that sales will have doubled by the end of the year, with new categories showing even faster take-up. Online gambling by phone is expected to rise by 367 per cent in the next 12 months.
Unsurprisingly the young are most likely to use downloads, with over 40 per cent of the over 35s surveyed describing downloading as a 'waste of time'.
Almost a fifth of all adults were unsure of how to download files to a mobile phone, a figure which rose to a third for the over 55s.
Overall the research found that 82 per cent of UK adults own a mobile phone, and that £1bn was spent on handsets last year.
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