Smartphone applications help make life simpler, more organized, and entertaining, and a new study predicts that they will be downloaded twice as often in a few years. According to Juniper Research, more than 160 billion consumer apps will be downloaded in the year 2017, which doubles their 2013 prediction of 80 billion.
Juniper predicts that free-to-play games will lead 2017′s app downloads, partially due to the growing multiplayer support for mobile titles (Hello Google Play Games and Apple Game Center). With free apps dominating most mobile marketplaces, the report states that only 5 percent of apps will be paid for when downloaded, which is lower than this year’s 6.1 percent.
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Application stores such as Apple’s App Store, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore are expected to continue improving app discovery for shoppers, as in-store recommendations are predicted to become more integral to sales and downloads.
While this is excellent for mobile software developers, it also challenges them to find ways to still profit off of applications that are free upon download. After all, many people choose to live with the in-game ads in the free versions of hit titles like “Words with Friends” and “Draw Something.” Some addictive casual games have mastered the art of in-app purchases, however; we’re looking at you “Candy Crush.”