mobile-apps2Total mobile app downloads will rise to exceed 210 billion, generating nearly $57 billion in revenue in 2020, according to a new forecast from IDC. Mobile app installations totaled nearly 156 billion in 2015 while direct (non-advertising) revenues reached $34.2 bllion, IDC highlights in a press release.

IDC expects market growth to slow over the course of the five-year period as the market matures, with growth in annual total mobile app downloads slowing to single-digit rates during the second half, according to IDC’s ¨Worldwide Mobile Applications Forecast, 2016-2020.¨ Overall, the market research company forecast installations will increase at a 6.3% CAGR while direct revenues will increase at a 10.6% CAGR over the entire five-year period.

Drilling Down into the Mobile App Market
Drilling down, Apple’s App Store garnered nearly 58% of direct mobile app revenue globally in 2015 – a 36% year-over-year (YoY) rise even though installation volume dropped nearly 8% to 15% of the total.

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Mobile installations via Google Play grew at a healthy, though slower clip in 2015 than in previous years, accounting for some 60% of the global total and nearly 36% of market revenue.

“While they provide a convenient measure of the mobile app economy and its beneficiaries, we caution that preoccupation with download/install volumes and associated direct revenue may miss the thrust of changes in the mobile marketplace,” John Jackson, IDC Research Vice President, Mobile and Connected Platforms, pointed out.

“Facebook and Google continue to dominate mobile ad spending thanks to the scale and sophistication of their network effects, with Facebook’s moves to incorporate news and other interests into its experience will likely pull traffic and install volumes away from discreet apps. Similarly, the emergence of ‘bots’, which seek to automate interactions in a contextually infused way, are another in a series of examples of value being created above the OS layer and even above the app.”

In related market research, Juniper Research expects growing interest and uptake of lifestyle apps, such as those for dating and navigation, along with growing demand for eBooks will fuel growth in the mobile handset and tablet markets. Juniper forecast mobile app revenue will reach $99 billion by 2019 in a report released at the end of March.

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