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Report: Mobile app stores a $3.8 billion biz in 2011

The revenue from inexpensive apps on various application stores really adds up. So much so, it's set to be a $3.8 billion business this year alone, and more than double that in 2014.

Click to enlarge IHS iSuppli

The apps people buy on their mobile phones continue to bring in big business, and there are few signs of it slowing down according to IHS iSuppli.

In a report released today, the research firm says revenue from app stores owned by Apple, Google, Nokia, and Research In Motion is set to grow 77.7 percent, reaching $3.8 billion by the end of the year and eventually rising to $8.3 billion in 2014. By comparison, 2010's mobile app store combined revenues stood at $2.1 billion, up from $830.6 million in 2009.

"With consumers continuing to show robust, unflagging interest in downloading games and other applications to devices like smart phones and tablets, collective revenues from the four stores will climb sharply this year," IHS mobile analyst Jack Kent said in a statement.

IHS iSuppli picked Apple as the frontrunner among the four companies, pulling in $2.91 billion in revenue from the App Store by the end of the year--what it calls "a gargantuan three-quarters share of the total market." That information is based on the IHS iSuppli's own research and estimates, which also call for Apple to drop down to a 60 percent market share in 2014.

That decrease is attributed to Google's Android Market, which IHS iSupply estimates as grabbing $425.36 million in revenue and growing 295.4 percent in 2011. That jibes with sentiments from research group Distimo, which last week estimated the Google would catch up to Apple in terms of app volume and go on to outpace it by July, potentially bringing in more app sales.

As for third place and lower, IHS iSupply estimates RIM at growing 69.2 percent and raking in $279.11 in revenue as a result, and Nokia grabbing fourth place at an estimated $201.48 million revenue. The research firm notes that Microsoft "could gain enough size and presence in the future of shake up the market." That shake up would be largely attributed to Microsoft's strategic partnership with Nokia, which has the two companies working together to bring handets that will run Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 software, and thus the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Along with app purchases, IHS iSupply says its report takes into account in-app purchases, which it says "will serve as a key growth driver for revenue up to 2014." Apple was one of the first companies out of the gate with in-app purchasing, with companies like Google and RIM following suit.

What have you spent on apps this year?