Big money: Tablet app revenue set to hit $8.8 billion in 2013; about half that of smartphones

by David Needle

March 12 2013

Apps designed for tablets will bring in a whopping $8.8 billion this year, representing a major chunk of the $25 billion in overall app revenue, according to a just-released forecast.

ABI Research says 65% of the total $25 billion will come from Apple’s iOS ecosystem, 27% from Android and the remaining 8% spread across other platforms.

The growth in tablet app revenue for the year is impressive, but will ramp considerably in the years ahead.

By 2017, ABI says it expects tablet app revenue to nearly match that of smartphones, and come out on top by 2018, when the combined revenue for both mobile platforms will reach $92 billion. 

“The dynamic is quite straightforward,” says ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen. “The larger screen makes apps and content look and feel better, so there are more lucrative opportunities.

“One might think that the bigger installed base of smartphones would compensate for the disparity, but that notion fails to take into account the arrival of low-cost tablets, which hasn’t even started yet at its earnest. The smartphones paved the way for them, but in the end we believe that it’s the tablets that will prove the more transformative device segment of the two.”

Markkanen added that while tablets offer “undeniable” business opportunities there are social benefits as well.

“The really big deal about tablets is how they will help to finally bring the computing age to, for instance, children and the elderly,” he said.

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