The four major mobile apps stores run by Apple, Google, Nokia and Research in Motion should pull in a combined $3.8 billion in revenue this year, a gain of 78 percent over 2010, according to research firm IHS iSuppli's new IHS Screen Digest market study.
IHS began tracking app store revenues in 2008, when the market was worth only $206 million. The next year app stores combined for $831 million in revenue. That climbed to $2.1 billion in 2010.
“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,” Jack Kent, IHS analyst, mobile media, said in a statement.
Most of this year's apps revenues, however, will belong to Apple, which is expected to generate $2.91 billion in apps sales, up 63.4 percent from last year. IHS says this will be good for 76 percent of app store market share, and forecasts that Apple will still hold 60 percent of the market by 2014, despite increased competition.
The fastest-growing app store this year is expected to be Google's Android Market, which should hit $425.4 million in sales, up 295 percent from 2010.
Android Market should surpass last year's No. 2 app store, BlackBerry App World, which is expected to have $279 million in revenue, up 69 percent.
Nokia's Ovi Store is expected to generate $201.5 million in sales in 2011.
Beyond this year, IHS says:
Total download revenue from games and other applications are projected to continue rising in 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.