Global sales of applications are expected to top $26 billion this year, with in-app purchasing accounting for 17.2% of revenue and 6.9% coming from advertising, Gartner reported. Global downloads should reach 102 billion this year and rise to 268 billion by 2017, when in-app purchases should contribute almost half of revenue despite free app downloads trending up to 94.5% by then. "[W]e believe that IAP is a promising and sustainable monetization method because it encourages performance-based purchasing ... developers have to work hard to earn the revenue through good design and performance," Gartner's Brian Blau says.

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