You might be out shopping today in retail stores, but it's the digital app store on your phone that's raking in the dough.
By the end of this year, the mobile app industry will have generated more than $30 billion in revenue since emerging about four years ago, according to a report on mobile markets by ABI Research, a tech analysis firm.
The report takes into account money made from app purchases, in-app purchases (such as upgrades inside video game apps), advertisements inside of apps and also subscriptions.
That's a lot of money, but if you're an app developer, the best news is that nearly half of that revenue has come this year alone. The reason: The digital app market has proved to be a major industry and not just a short-term gold rush, ABI Research Senior Analyst Aapo Markkanen said in a statement.
"Consumers’ high interest in apps has for a long time been obvious from download volumes, but it’s 2012 that will go down in history as the year when the economic side of the business finally took off," he said.
A big reason for that is Google's emergence in the digital goods market. This year, the Mountain View, Calif., company re-branded its app store as Google Play, and that's made the difference.
"If the old Android Market was a garage sale of the industry then the new Google Play has begun resembling a respectable department store," Markkanen said. "We estimate the Android developers’ share of the annual app revenues to set around one-third.”
The app market took off in 2008 when Apple introduced the App Store and invited developers to build apps for the iPhone.