Mobile app installs are at an all-time high and are set to grow by a staggering 1.2 billion by 2020, according to research firm App Annie.
It says the total number of Android apps has almost doubled in the last year, to 8.4 billion, and the iOS market is set to overtake desktop in terms of market share.
It also notes that the iPhone is also set to see the largest increase in installs, up more than 10 per cent to 9.6 billion, while the iPad is set for an increase of 5.3 per cent, to 4.7 billion.
However, the growth in app installs has been more unevenly distributed across the globe.
The UK’s Android app install growth has slowed in recent years, and while the iPhone app is forecast to grow at a much faster pace in 2020, it is still set to reach 4.4bn by 2020.
Australia has also seen a noticeable slowdown, with the number of apps installed on the iPad shrinking from more than 11.8 billion in 2012 to just over 10 billion in 2020.
“The UK has been hit hard in terms the proportion of Android installs that are iOS-only,” said App Annie analyst Colin Johnson.
“This has affected the iPhone market as well.
It is the same story with Australia.”
Mobile app downloads for iPhone and iPad are now more evenly distributed across their respective ecosystems, the report says.
But despite the rapid growth in iOS apps, the number still accounts for just 1 per cent of the global app market.
In the UK, where the share of Android-only apps is set at 8.5 per cent by 2020 and in France, where it is 9 per cent (at least, according the report), the number is actually much higher at 9.3%.
“In many ways, Android is the least mobile platform to install, with its native apps being downloaded by only 3.9 per cent,” said Mr Johnson.
Mobile app usage is also still growing rapidly across other developed countries, with Australia accounting for 9.5 million apps installed, compared to 9 per, according Toffee Research.
But, the growing popularity of the internet of things (IoT) and other connected devices will likely have a larger impact on app install figures.
“As the adoption of IoT devices increases, we expect that app installs will also increase as these devices will increasingly rely on connected devices, which will inevitably consume more battery,” said Tim Evans, chief executive of mobile app developer, app company, and mobile platform provider, Moo Mobile.
“Mobile app install is likely to increase by between 20-30 per cent in 2020 and around 30 per cent as more and more IoT devices are used.”
As for the overall number of mobile devices in use, Apple has set a goal of 10 billion installed devices by 2020 (although it has set its own goal of 12 billion in 2021).
In the United States, that number is set by the US Census Bureau at around 5.4 million, while there are other US estimates for that number, such as the US Federal Communications Commission.
There are also reports of countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand setting their own goalposts, although the US has the lowest of them.
“There’s no doubt that the number will go up,” said Jason Dolan, an analyst at Forrester Research.
“But that number will depend on the growth of the market and how much users want to buy the software.”
The US and Europe are both expected to have the highest install counts, according App Annie, with Apple’s UK install count rising from 5.7 million to 7.1 million and France’s from 7.3 million to 8 million.
However these numbers are skewed by the fact that many apps are available on iOS, while Android is more prevalent in emerging markets, where many users have never installed an Android app before.
“Overall, the US and European install totals are actually higher than the UK and Australia,” Mr Johnson said.
“However, the European countries install numbers are still much lower than the US install totals, which is likely due to the lower install volumes in those countries.”