A new report from market researchers at Gartner forecasts that the freemium model (free apps with in-app purchases available) will become increasingly important to the mobile development industry over the next few years. Gartner says that 89 percent of all 2012 app downloads will be free apps, and 93 percent will be free by 2016. While only 5 percent of apps offered in-app purchases in 2011, Gartner believes 30 percent will do so within four years. Similarly, while in-app purchases accounted for just 10 percent of mobile developer revenue last year, it could climb to 41 percent by 2016.
The report also predicts that app downloads will continue their explosive growth. Mobile device users will likely download 45.6 billion apps this year and 309.6 billion by 2016.