Consumer mobile app market revenue will surpass US$50 billion by 2016, fuelled by accelerating smartphone and tablet growth, according to a Juniper Research report.

The analyst firm forecastsrevenue of US$52 billion in 2016 and says the introduction of operator billing on major app stores will help contribute to this revenue increase. The widespread use of in-app billing meanwhile, means post-download revenue will soon exceed pay-per-download revenue in some app stores.

The report also suggests that the app store model will be slowly eroded as HTML5-based web apps drive a move to a more browser-based environment. These types of apps will become more closely integrated with handsets, reducing the advantage of native apps. Juniper Research also asserts that operator store fronts will continue to struggle to attract developers due to their lack of scale.

As a result of a shift towards HTML5 apps, content publishers will have a greater opportunity to offer content on websites rather than rely on app stores for distribution. However, report author Windsor Holden said this direct-to-consumer model will only work when there is significant web traffic. “Most do not possess the scale of traffic to make D2C a viable option: in most cases, the storefront will continue to be the optimal discovery and distribution mechanism," he said.

App revenue from tablet computers is also set to become more important, according to Juniper Research. Tablet computers currently account for 7 percent of global app revenue but are forecast to account for 25 percent by 2016.