The next three years will see a substantial increase in the number of mobile applications being downloaded, according to new figures from ABI Research.
The company estimated that consumers downloaded around 2.4 billion applications from mobile app stores last year, and predicted that this will increase to seven billion by 2013.
However, the research firm warned that the market will then enter a period of slow decline.
"App stores are not going away. Following the 2013 peak in demand, the number of downloads in 2015 will have decreased only seven or eight per cent. But as our use of the mobile internet evolves, demand will increasingly shift elsewhere," said ABI Research senior analyst Mark Beccue.
As devices become more sophisticated, users will move away from mobile apps and turn to the mobile web, according to Beccue. And as devices become more mature, most typical applications will come as standard.
"We see two emerging trends. First, many applications (increasingly built on web standards) will migrate from app stores to regular web sites, and for some sites you won't need an app at all," he said.
"In addition, more and more popular applications will be preloaded on mobile devices. Social networking apps, in particular, will be pre-loaded on new products."
For the moment, however, consumers are still happy to download applications. Apple revealed earlier this week that iPad users have already downloaded over 12 million applications from the App Store and more than 1.5 million e-books from the new iBookstore.
Other research from ABI pointed to strong sales of global navigation systems in North America and Europe. This market is expected to grow from three million units shipped in 2010 to seven and a half million by 2015.
"Enterprises are quickly discovering the many benefits offered by dedicated commercial navigation solutions, including truck-specific routing (taking into account height, weight, length, width and hazardous goods restrictions) and optimised multi-stop routing " said Dominique Bonte, navigation and telematics practice director at ABI Research.
"They allow fleets to reduce accidents, and improve driver safety and comfort while increasing customer satisfaction, resulting in short return on investment periods."
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