The mobile phone app market has been booming over the last 18 months, but a new report suggests the honeymoon may soon be over.
The world’s smartphone subscribers will download about 36 billion apps in 2012, according to a new report by ABI research.
This averages out to around 37 native apps downloaded per year for the average smartphone subscriber, a 6% increase on the 35 app average from 2011.
However, ABI analyst and author of the report, Aapo Markkanen, believes this is a plateau and that number will soon start declining as HTML5 takes off.
"The next waves of smartphone subscribers in the more mature app markets of the United States, Western Europe, and parts of Asia will be downloading quite notably fewer apps than, say, the first one-third of the mobile consumers who bought smartphones," he said.
Another major factor contributing to the downward trend in average app downloads is the evolution of mobile web, which Markkanen believes will be especially popular in news media.
"News and magazine apps are a segment where the momentum is likely to shift towards the web within the next two to three years. Since news and media content already account for a large share of smartphone usage and are likely to play an even bigger role in later adopters’ usage, changes in this segment alone will make subscribers on average download fewer native apps."
Native apps will remain dominant in categories such as games power utilities, where the web will not be able to match the user experience, in terms of speed and response times.