More than 160 billion apps will be downloaded onto consumer handsets and tablets in 2017, marking a “sharp increase” from 80 billion this year, according to Juniper Research.
The company attributed the growth to consumers in developing markets upgrading from feature phones to smartphones, and the growing number of apps available for no upfront cost.
The majority of downloads will continue to come from the games category, which will make up “at least 40 per cent” of the total.
App stores will seek to improve the “stickiness” of these apps by developing social functions for gameplay – such as Google Play Game Services, which allows for real-time multiplayer games and leader boards across Android, iOS and the web.
However, there will still be a challenge in terms of profiting from the download growth, as download pressure on pricing means that the only option is for developers to offer titles free at the point of downloads.