Apple dominance of app download market set to wane

Two-thirds of all smartphone apps downloaded last year were for the iPhone, but this will fall to just 22% in 2015 as players like Google and Symbian catch up, according to research.

Apple: app dominance set to wane
Apple: app dominance set to wane

Apple dominated 67% of all smartphone app downloads last year despite claiming just 14% of the overall smartphone market, said analysts Ovum.

However, the Symbian operating system, which is used by Nokia, commanded a 49% share of the smartphone installed base but only generated an estimated 9% of the total applications downloads market.

The report states that in 2015 Apple will generate a relatively modest 22% of app downloads, compared to 19% for Symbian.

Michele Mackenzie, principal analyst at Ovum and co-author of the Mobile Application Download Forecast 2009 to 2015, said: "The iPhone generates the lion’s share of smartphone app downloads but over the period we will see the share of application downloads becoming more equally distributed."

Between 2009 and 2015 Ovum expects Google's Android to increase its smartphone base from 5% to 18% penetration and its mobile application download share from 14% to 26%.

While BlackBerry looks set to lose smartphone share over the forecast period as newer players like Android move in aggressively, it will more than triple its share of the app download market from 5% to 17%.

Similarly, Microsoft loses smartphone share but doubles its mobile application download share.

Adam Leach, Ovum principal analyst and report co-author, said that while North America will continue to dominate, its share of the smartphone mobile app downloads market will decrease from 57% in 2009 to 31% in 2015.

He said: "Application stores benefit from a vast appetite for applications in this region as well as a growing smartphone base, as well as the fact that the dominant smartphone players have their roots in the North American market."

"Ovum expects Asia Pacific to experience the highest growth, with its share of the global market set to quadruple from 5% in the early phase to 20% by 2015.

"This growth will be driven by growing penetration of smartphones in the region coupled with the increased availability of applications with local relevance."

Ovum predicts that total downloads will reach 21.3bn by 2015, up from 2.69bn in 2009.

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