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Аpp store revenues to hit $37bn by 2015

30 июня 2011

Revenues from the sale of applications, in-app purchases and app subscriptions generated by smartphone and tablet users are expected to reach $37 billion worldwide by 2015, according to Canalys, up from an expected $7.3 billion this year.

The research firm predicted that app store revenues will see a compound annual growth rate of 50% between 2011 and 2015. And with 419 million smartphones and 43.3 million tablets expected to ship this year, apps still represent a significant growth opportunity for mobile players.

"The leading [app] stores already have hundreds of thousands of apps, so it's hard for operators to compete with those numbers," said Canalys analyst Tim Shepherd, in a research note. "On the other hand, too much choice brings serious problems in terms of application discovery for both developers and users, which operators can turn to their advantage."

He said that operators can still hope to capture a chunk of app revenue with their own stores without resorting to the failed walled gardens of the past.

"While consumers would probably object to operators installing their app stores in place of vendor ones, there is no reason for operators not to pre-install their app stores alongside vendor stores to compete on user experience," he said.

Shepherd said the most obvious way operators can compete with over-the-top (OTT) players is by leveraging customer data and offering a tailored user experience, with targeted marketing and recommendations, provided they are "careful to respect their customers' privacy."

This compares to the over-abundance of apps that users are confronted with when they access OTT stores such as the Android Market or Apple's App Store, where a broad selection is on offer, but user reviews or ratings are inconsistent or in some cases not available at all, he said.

The potential pay-off for operators that establish a solid app store would come not only in the form of direct app store revenue, but improved loyalty, and an opportunity to upsell existing customers to high-end devices and larger data plans, Shepherd added.

Shepherd said that although device design and cost will remain important decision-making factors for consumers, the quality and availability of mobile apps is a growing influence over buying decisions.

"By building on their strengths, operators can capture more of the market, while delivering a better customer experience," he concluded.

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