Mobile app store revenues to near $37bn by 2015

Direct revenue from mobile app stores won't be far off $40 billion in a matter of years.

apps

Mobile app demand looks set to grow, with direct revenue from stores set to surpass $14 billion in 2012 and edge close to $37 billion by 2015.

So claims Canalys, which claims mobile network operators should see this as an opportunity to take on the vendor app stores from the likes of Apple et al.

Too much choice brings serious problems in terms of application discovery for both developers and users.

"The leading stores already have hundreds of thousands of apps, so it's hard for operators to compete with those numbers," said Canalys analyst Tim Shepherd.

"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."

The research firm has predicted purchases from smarphones and tablet devices will be up by 92 per cent between this year and next. Furthermore, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2011 and 2015 will be just shy of 50 per cent.

"As more content and services are delivered over their networks, many MNOs are aspiring to move up the value chain. When it comes to detailed subscriber data, operators certainly have the competitive advantage," Shepherd added.

"While they must clearly be careful to respect their customers' privacy, the data they hold leaves them well positioned to propose targeted marketing services, such as promotions and recommendations, as well as richer editorial guidance, better localisation, improved security and simpler billing processes.'

More than 400 million and 43.3 million app-friendly smartphones and tablets respectively expected to be shipped around the world in 2011, there's a mammoth opportunity for network operators to offer users a more refined choice of applications, according to Canalys.

"Some operators are concerned that having their own branded app stores will appear as a throwback to the 'walled gardens' of the past,' Shepherd added. "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."

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