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Mobile app downloads to reach more than 66 billion per year by 2016: study

More than 66 billion mobile applications are expected to be downloaded by 2016, up from 31 billion in 2011, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

In the ?Mobile apps stores: future business models and ecosystem analysis 2012-2016,? Juniper looked at where the mobile app industry is headed over the next four years. Overall, the study indicates that mobile apps are not going anywhere, and brands need to think of a long-term app strategy that matches their demographic. 
?I think while having a strong mobile presence is increasingly critical to most brands, the nature of the channels that they should employ will necessarily vary depending upon the brand in question,? said Dr. Windsor Holden, principal analyst at Juniper Research, Hampshire, England.

?What we have seen is brands falling over themselves to offer iPhone apps, when in some cases their target audience does not actually own iPhones,? he said.
Mass download
The report looked at predicted mobile app revenue with both app marketplace downloads and mobile Web-based downloads.

Juniper predicts that by 2016, revenue from consumer mobile apps will reach $51.7 billion. The majority of money will come from smartphone apps followed by tablets and feature phones.

In 2011, tablets generated 7 percent of overall mobile app revenue. However, the report predicts that by 2015, tablets will make up 25 percent of mobile app revenue, growing at a 51 percent year-over-year rate.

Feature phones will continue to make up less of overall revenue from 2012 ? 2016. 

The report also outlines a few main mobile app takeaways over the past three years and credits the launch of the iPhone 3 as the reason for the app boom.

In January 2011, Apple reported that it had passed ten billion downloads. Eleven months later, Google reported the same number, showing how Android is chipping away at Apple in the app marketplace.

To show the growth that the mobile app marketplace has made, app downloads totaled 2.1 billion in 2008.

Money, money, money
Despite the sharp increase in app downloads, publishers continuously struggle to monetize their content, per the report. Certain publishers have actively been looking at how to incorporate paid content into apps. 

For example, certain publishers are using freemium apps to get users to pay for things once they have downloaded a free app. Other types of revenue streams include in-app advertising or a pay-per-download model.

The rise in HTML5 technology also has the possibility of shaking up the app marketplace as more brands look to develop rich mobile Web experiences and bypass app store regulations and device fragmentation.

In particular, brands need to think if their one-off marketing apps deliver both an ROI and a true value for consumers.

The study also points to the challenges companies will have in marketing apps, per Dr. Holden.

?If an app is not present in the top Top 100 of its category in a particular store, then ? as far as the app-buying public is concerned ? it effectively does not exist,? Dr. Holden said.

?Thus, it is incumbent upon the content provider to seek to drive that app into public awareness by marketing that app via various channels,? he said.

?However, given that smaller and medium-sized developers may not have the capabilities to undertake these activities, it may well be that they should partner with advertising and marketing specialists that can run blitz campaigns across one or more media in a bid to deliver an initial presence in the app charts.?
Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York