Mobile app stores to reach 102 billion downloads in 2013

App stores are set for a strong 2013, according to new data from research firm Gartner.

The company on Thursday revealed that total app downloads worldwide will hit 102 billion this year, up from the 64 billion apps that were downloaded last year. Next year, that figure will jump to 139 billion apps, and reach a high of 268.7 billion by 2017.

Free apps have always proven more popular, accounting for 90 percent of all downloads last year. But their popularity will only soar in the coming years, Gartner says, with free apps accounting for 94.5 percent of all downloads in 2017.

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