Data from IDC and App Annie indicate that Apple’s App Store, and Google’s Play marketplace are both likely to see their revenues double over the next four years. This suggests that Apple’s App Store revenues could hit $20 billion in 2018.
“I would consider this projection conservative,” App Annie CEO Bertrand Schmitt said in an interview, noting that the company has consistently been revising its forecasts up over the past two years as revenue has exceeded expectations.
Revenues of $20 billion for Apple would see about $14 billion of that going to developers if the current revenue split stays in place.
The study found that revenue from both sources grew at a similar rate from 2013 to 2014, expanding 1.7x.
The study also indicates that freemium apps, whose income is earned via in-app purchases, will continue to be popular with developers.
IDC notes that advertising revenue continues to be important for both iOS and Android developers, with 68% of all U.S. mobile app revenue derived from in-app ads. In-app advertising accounts for a more than two-thirds of revenue in India and the United Kingdom, but less than a quarter in Russia and Japan.
Something to watch: How much will Apple’s App Store revenues be boosted by the debut of the Apple Watch? The first third-party Apple Watch-capable apps were added to the App Store last week.