Is Apple poised to lose significant market share in the mobile app retail space this year?

Apple came out of the gate flying with its iPhone, which immediately exploded to popularity and garnered the attention of tens of thousands of savvy app developers. The byproduct of this flash-ignited storm of excitement was an Apple App Store that, in its peak, held well over 90 percent of the global mobile app store revenue.

in 2009, Apple’s App Store raked in $769 million in revenue for a 92.8 percent stranglehold of the market. In 2010, it raised this growth by a an impressive 132 percent, bringing last year’s revenue to nearly 1.8 billion. However, its market share plummeted a steep 10 percent.

None of Apple’s major competitors are sitting idly: Google’s Android platform has thus far been a tremendous success, although the looming risk of death by fragmentation remains a concern. And RIM’s BlackBerry App World has gone though dramatic enhancements in order to keep pace. Even Nokia, struggling giant that it is, was able to step it up in the app retail department.

Looking at the number’s from a bird’s eye view, Apple’s crown may be in threat of falling off. First, its 2010 numbers were helped tremendously by its iPad debut, an exclusive product; however, in 2011, and especially in 2012, there will be myriad competing tablets on the market, erasing Apple’s edge in this category. Secondly, even with this iPad bolstering its numbers, its 132 percent growth rate was, by far, the lowest of the top four stores. Admittedly, it’s more difficult to grow quickly when the store is already so big, but it’s quite fathomable to believe the App Store will drop at least another 10 percent this year, while others rapidly close the gap.

 

The BlackBerry App World, which had less than five percent of the global market share in 2009, shot up a remarkable 360 percent to reach a market share of nearly eight percent. Nokia’s Ovi Store, which held a paltry 1.5 percent in 2009, skyrocketed a tremendous 719 percent to claim just under five percent of the global app store market share. And the dark horse, Google’s Android platform, climbed a staggering 862 percent, from just 1.3 percent in 2009 to 4.7 percent of the market in 2010.

Apple’s growth will likely drop well below its 132 percent, simply due to its sheer size. But there’s no reason why BlackBerry and Android cannot continue their growth rates, considering how proportionally small their market shares are (Nokia is a bit more unpredictable)—plus, new tablets will enter the market, bolstering their numbers as the iPad did for Apple.