Worldwide Smartphone Users will download about 36 billion apps in 2012

According to a recent forecast by ABI Research, worldwide smartphone subscribers will download about 36 billion apps in 2012. This would mean an average smart phone user would download around 37 native apps in 2012, which is a 6% global increase against the 35 apps downloaded per smartphone subscriber on average in 2011.

However, the forecast says that despite this increase in app downloads, the global mobile app downloads may see a surprising dip in coming years. According to ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen, the average download count will not increase substantially over the coming years. Rather, it is likelier to start modestly decreasing. He says,“When forecasting on app downloads one has to make a number of assumptions on, for instance, the device mix, developer activity, and the demographics of existing and future smartphone users. The next waves of smartphone subscribers in the more mature app markets of the United States, Western Europe, and parts of Asia will be downloading quite notably fewer apps than, say, the first one-third of the mobile consumers who bought smartphones.”

The evolution of mobile web is another reasons cited for the slowdown in app downloads. In many app categories, like games and most utilities, the web will probably never catch up with the native app opportunity in terms of user experience, but at the same time there are also some popular areas where it can be anticipated to come rather close.

Marakken further said,“News and magazine apps are a segment where the momentum is likely to shift towards the web within the next two to three years. Since news and media content already account for a large share of smartphone usage and are likely to play an even bigger role in later adopters’ usage, changes in this segment alone will make subscribers on average download fewer native apps.”

ABI Research  is a market intelligence company specializing in global technology markets. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services.

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