Mobile apps are expected to generate over $15 billion in 2011, with combined revenue from 2010-2014 slated to total a staggering $58 billion.
Indeed, according to Gartner, worldwide mobile app downloads are forecast to reach 17.7 billion downloads in 2011 - representing a truly impressive 117 percent increase from an estimated 8.2 billion downloads in 2010.
And by the end of 2014, Gartner projects that over 185 billion applications will have been downloaded from mobile app stores, since the launch of the first one in July 2008.
Concurrently, worldwide mobile application store revenue is pegged to surpass $15.1 billion in 2011, both from end users buying apps and applications themselves generating advertising revenue for devs.
"Many are wondering if the app frenzy we have been witnessing is just a fashion, and, like many others, it shall pass. We do not think so. We strongly believe there is a sizable opportunity for application stores in the future," explained Gartner research director Stephanie Baghdassarian.
"However, applications will have to grow up and deliver a superior experience to the one that a Web-based app will be able to deliver. Native apps will survive the Web enhancements only when they will provide a more-personal and richer experience to the 'vanilla' experience that a Web-based app will deliver."
Baghdassarian also noted that app store revenue is currently divided between various store owners such as Apple, RIM and Android, with the average revenue share based on a 70 (dev)/30 (store) split.
"Application stores have become a highly visible and potentially lucrative part of the smartphone 'ecosystem, largely due to Apple's App Store. As well as promising revenue, application stores allow store owners to leverage innovation from a community outside their own R&D department.
"However, setting up a successful application store is far from simple. Application store owners need to rise to the challenges of attracting developers, organizing content and engaging users throughout the life of the store in order to remain profitable," she added.