Mobile device users installed nearly 156 billion mobile applications worldwide in 2015, generating $34.2 billion in direct (non-advertising) revenue. A new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that these figures will grow to more than 210 billion installs and nearly $57 billion in direct revenue in 2020.
Apple's App Store "ecosystem" captured nearly 58% of global direct app revenue in 2015, an increase of 36% year-over-year. Meanwhile, Apple's share of global app install volume was 15%, down nearly 8% year-over-year.
The sheer volume of Android-based devices in use ensures a greater overall number of installs through Google Play, which captured about 60% of install volume and nearly 36% of direct revenue in 2015, according to IDC. Although Google Play enjoyed solid year-over-year growth in both downloads and direct revenues, the gains were somewhat lower than in previous years.
While the market will continue to grow throughout the forecast period, IDC expects to see slower growth in both application install volumes and direct revenue over time. This trend, which is largely driven by market maturation, will see annual install growth fall into the single digits over the second half of the forecast.
Mobile application install volume will still experience a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3%, according to IDC. Meanwhile, direct revenue from mobile applications will also experience slower growth by the end of the forecast period, although the five year CAGR will remain in the double digits at 10.6%, according to the research group.
Apple is expected to continue outperforming Google Play in terms of revenue generation. However both ecosystems are more than sufficiently established to sustainably attract developers, according to IDC.