Apple to dominate mobile app market for years

Apple’s control of the mobile app market is set to continue for at least three years, according to projections from IHS Screen Digest.

It says that combined revenues from the four major mobile app stores – run by Apple, Google, Nokia and RIM – will leap 77.7 percent this year to $3.8 billion. And Apple’s App Store will scoop up a massive three-quarters of this, says the report.

“With consumers continuing to show robust, unflagging interest in downloading games and other applications to devices like smart phones and tablets, collective revenues from the four stores will climb sharply this year,” says mobile media analyst Jack Kent.

Total download revenue from games and other applications is also expected to continue rising over the next few years, jumping to $5.6 billion in 2012, $6.9 billion in 2013 and $8.3 billion in 2014.

“The four app stores are the major players at present in the field, but other sites, such as Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace, conceivably could gain enough size and presence in the future to shake up the market,” says IHS.

But it’s Apple that’s set to stay the winner, says the report. Its projected revenue from the App Store this year is reckoned at $2.91 billion, up 63.4 percent from 2010. And despite all the efforts of its competitors, says IHS, it will still retain 60 percent market share by 2014.

Apple won’t quite have things all its own way, though, with Google’s Android Market expected to show the fastest growth in 2011. Revenue will soar 295.4 percent this year to $425.36 million, says IHS, putting it well on its way to becoming the second-largest application store.

The total number of downloaded applications in 2011 is expected to reach 18.1 billion by year-end, compared to 9.5 billion last year. By 2014, downloaded applications will top some 33 billion, says the report.