Apple’s App Store downloads hit new highs, according to a report, in a trend that may lead to more expensive apps as users are increasingly-willing to pay more for features and functionality.
The average iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch user will download 83 applications in 2011, according to a report by Piper Jaffray. That’s over a 60 percent increase from last year’s 51 app downloads per user.
The increase in app downloads comes as users continue to enjoy the capabilities apps can bring to their devices. It also dovetails with a 14 percent increase in the price of apps, a trend that report author Gene Munster says is likely to continue.
Apple’s App Store features more than 425,000 apps. Munster reports 82 percent of these apps are free, while 18 percent are paid. The average price of a paid iPhone app is expected to reach around $1.50 by year’s end, while the average price of a paid iPad app is likely to reach a little over $6.
Neither of these prices is likely to break the bank, but when the small price increase combines with the large increase of the number of apps downloaded, it will add up to increased revenue, both for Apple and for its developers.
Although Munster’s research does not specify what percentage of app downloads are paid against what percentage are free, the developers’ success with paid apps is evident in their sales revenue.
The creation of the App Store has given way to an entirely new sector of business for developers. Since the launch of the App Store, developers earned more than $2.5 billion for their efforts, leading the way to more aggressive pricing and greater innovation.
With developers happy and customers willing to pay for more innovative apps, the result is a thriving ecosystem for Apple mobile products, which should keep it in strong position, even as other app platforms like Android gain ground and new competitors like HP’s WebOS attempt to get in the game.
Apple device owners currently download more than 32 million apps a day. As demand for apps continues to grow, developers will create more advanced programs at higher price points, as long as people are still willing to pay.