App industry to hit 44 billion cumulative downloads by 2016
However, according to the latest paper published by ABI Research, it's two of the firm's biggest rivals that have the real potential to grow app downloads in the coming years.
The body claims cumulative app downloads will surpass the 44 billion mark by 2016, with much of that growth resulting from increasing efforts by both Google and Microsoft to chase down the App Store's lead.
As a whole, ABI believes both the types of consumers downloading apps, and the monetisation and promotion models adopted by the titles they purchase, will alter as the market expands.
"Given the vast number of choices available, app developers and app stores need to innovate continually in order to maintain consumers interest," said company analyst Fei Feng Seet.
"For example, an app called OfferedApp promises to provide a paid app each day in exchange for users completing a simple survey or signing up for an offer with advertisers. Some apps also offer virtual currency or other premiums to consumers who download a featured app from the developer.
"However these new marketing tactics are likely to face opposition as iTunes starts to clamp down on such incentivised promotions when they cut into Apples revenue from in-app sales."
Change for the better
Indeed, ABI has also seen fit to offer comment on the apparent change to Apple's ranking algorithm for the App Store, and a supposed clamp down on incentivisation schemes.
In the firm's view, both represent positive change.
"Having many 'misleading' apps hogging the top charts for a week at a time does not help," said practice director Neil Strother.
"This could not be a better time for Apple to reform its app ecosystem in an environment where competition and consumers' heightened expectations are increasing the pressure."
[source: ABI Research]