Around 36 billion apps will be downloaded in 2012, with the average smartphone user downloading 37 native titles, according to ABI Research.
However, while the number of apps downloaded per consumer is up from 35 in 2011, the company believes that this is likely to start “modestly decreasing” moving forward.
This is because of a changing mix between new and existing smartphone users, as devices become available at lower price points and move beyond the early adopter category.
“The next waves of smartphone subscribers in the more mature app markets of the United States, Western Europe, and parts of Asia will be downloading quite notably fewer apps than, say, the first one-third of the mobile consumers who bought smartphones”, said Aapo Markkanen, senior analyst for the company.
Another factor that will lead to decreases in the number of app downloads will be the evolution of the “mobile web”.
“News and magazine apps are a segment where the momentum is likely to shift towards the web within the next two to three years. Since news and media content already account for a large share of smartphone usage and are likely to play an even bigger role in later adopters' usage, changes in this segment alone will make subscribers on average download fewer native apps,” Markkanen said.