Internet marketing services providers may like to consider the opportunities offered by mobile apps, as a new report has found their popularity will continue to grow.

Research conducted by Gartner forecast that total revenues for the sector would exceed $15 billion (£9.45 billion) in 2011, with income being derived from both sales to end-users and advertising.

The company added that 17.7 billion apps would be downloaded by the year's end, a 117 per cent rise from the 8.2 billion that were distributed up to 2010.

Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director of Gartner, said: "Many are wondering if the app frenzy we have been witnessing is just a fashion and, like many others, it shall pass. We do not think so".

However, she added that apps would have to offer an experience superior to web-based mobile if they are to meet consumers' expectations,

It was recently stated by Econsultancy's Graham Charlton that retailers had seen a large increase in the use of mobiles for shopping over the festive period.

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