The world will download 102 billion apps this year

We're still downloading a lot of apps, but how long will it last?

The world's app downloading binge hasn't slowed down, yet.

Gartner is projecting 102 billion mobile apps will be downloaded globally in 2013. That's a big increase from 64 billion last year, but hardly a surprise as the number of smart, connected mobile devices also continues to increase around the world .

But how long will growth in app downloads continue?

"We expect strong growth in downloads through 2014, but growth is forecast to slow down a bit in later years," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. "The average downloads per device should be high in early years as users get new devices and discover the apps they like. Over time they accumulate a portfolio of apps they like and stick to, so there will be moderate numbers of downloads in the later years."

But for now, the growth in mobile downloads is leading to increased revenue for app stores. Total revenue from apps is expected to be $26 billion in 2013, up from $18 billion last year, even though 91 percent of total downloads are free apps. And revenue growth should continue as in-app purchases increase the share of revenue from 11 percent in 2012 to 48 percent in 2017, which is important for sustaining revenue.

"We see that users are not put off by the fact that they have already paid for an app, and are willing to spend more if they are happy with the experience," said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner. "As a result, we believe that [in-app purchase] is a promising and sustainable monetization method because it encourages performance-based purchasing; that is, users only pay when they are happy with the experience, and developers have to work hard to earn the revenue through good design and performance."

Read more: Gartner

Photo: Flickr/Miguel

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com