Gartner: $6.2 Billion in Mobile Apps in 2010

Gartner is predicting that mobile app downloads will be worth $6.2 this year: 

Consumers will spend $6.2 billion in 2010 in mobile application stores while advertising revenue is expected to generate $0.6 billion worldwide, according to Gartner, Inc. Analysts said mobile application stores will exceed 4.5 billion downloads in 2010, eight out of ten of which will be free to end users.

Gartner forecasts worldwide downloads in mobile application stores to surpass 21.6 billion by 2013. Free downloads will account for 82 per cent of all downloads in 2010, and will account for 87 per cent of downloads in 2013.

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I haven't independently tried to calculate or verify these numbers. However, the paid-free ratio that Garnter uses is relatively conservative; the firm assumes 18% of apps are paid. In 2013 that number goes down to 13% in the Gartner forecast. As another datapoint, there are roughly 6 million iPhone apps now downloaded on a daily basis according to simple math (see Apple Insider). That's more than 2 billion on the iPhone alone annually. 

The lion's share of apps revenue will be on the iPhone; however RIM and Android are a growing component. One variable to consider in all this is that more publishers and developers may shift from apps to mobile Web for several reasons: single "platform" across smartphones, no approvals (in the case of the iPhone). If there's a large developer and publisher shift in that direction it would mean diminished revenues vs. the 2013 Gartner projection.

On the other hand, deeper smartphone penetration could potentially mean more app downloads and revenues accordingly. Nielsen has boldly predicted 50% smartphone penetration in the US by 2011. Those numbers are very aggressive however. Right now we stand at between 15% and 17% smartphones in the US market. 

Apple takes a 30% of all paid apps. 

What's also at stake with the debate surrounding apps vs. mobile Web is the focus and placement of mobile advertising. More apps means more ads in apps. Fewer apps or a weakening apps ecosystem over time would mean more attention and ad revenues would shift to the mobile Web. Of course ads will be in both locations.