Annual revenue from apps is expected to reach $99 billion by 2019, with games accounting for the largest share of revenue, Juniper Research said.
It said the highest growth will also be experienced in areas such as lifestyle applications, for example dating and navigation, as well as e-books.
According to the report, a significant proportion of online dating activity is now migrating to mobile devices: dating apps Match.com, Zoosk, Tinder and Plenty of Fish were in the top 20 grossing UK iOS apps in early-2015.
Navigation apps will “buck the trend towards freemium and use a PPD (Pay Per Download) model, with many apps charging a high ($50 plus) one-off price,” it noted, although it also predicts a transition to a subscription-based one, with features like live traffic updates allowing for ongoing revenue streams.
As for app storefronts maintained by operators, the study says they now account for less than 2 per cent of app downloads worldwide.
Report author Windsor Holden said: “Operators have finally recognised that they cannot compete with Apple and Google from a content distribution basis. If they are to monetise content, that revenue has to come from bundling content into subscriptions or through leveraging the billing relationship.”
The report also noted that Baidu is now the second-largest storefront behind Google, and that “barely 1 per cent” of apps are paid for at the time of download.
It also predicts that more than 235 billion apps will be downloaded worldwide this year.