Mobile users will download 160 billion apps per year by 2017 according to a new paper published by Juniper Research. Of those, just five percent will be paid for at the point of download, with many apps instead choosing to use advertising or in-app purchases to make a profit.
Games are the most popular form of app download, making up 40 percent of 2013's expected 80bn total app downloads. However, the report warns that a lack of quality in some apps can lead to problems further down the line.
"Engagement time per game is often extremely low, with many being accessed no more than once or twice," the report said. "This is in contrast to social communication apps. Many such apps have extremely high levels of engagement, with smartphone users regularly checking Facebook several times per day."
With the rise of smartphone purchases in developing markets, it warns that mobile operators in those areas will see a drop in revenue from game purchases that were billed to feature phone users. With smartphones, app stores such as the Play Store eliminate the need for mobile networks to act as middlemen in purchase.
The big increase in downloads will be altered slightly by web-based, cross-platform applications programmed in languages such as HTML5. The report explained: "This transition from native to browser-based apps can be advantageous to developers, as one of the defining features for the various app stores is how open or closed they are as an ecosystem."
On Monday, Microsoft celebrated the Windows 8 Store reaching a total of 100,000 apps faster than Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store.
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