App stores are offering marketers and advertisers a new way to reach mobile audiences, according to In-Stat.

The researchers forecast more than 100 million app store-compatible mobile phones from multiple manufacturers will be shipping within five years.

Much of the credit for this emerging market trend is given to the iPhone.

In-Stat says Apple’s debut of the iPhone Apps Store has provided a platform for branded applications.

In-Stat analyst David Chamberlain said that with greater capabilities in both running native applications and viewing ‘real Internet’ websites, smartphones have increased usage and user expectations for mobile content.

He said that along with the expanding handset base, users are downloading more applications.

"Reach for marketing applications is growing rapidly and those applications can provide prolonged engagement with the user and keep the advertiser’s brand in focus," he said.

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

  • Smartphones having a strong app store orientation will reach 30 per cent of the global smartphone market by 2013, approaching nearly 100 million units.
  • Survey respondents show iPhone users are by far the most active apps store users, significantly outpacing users of Blackberry, Palm OS or Windows Mobile phones.
  • Application marketing, like all new advertising media, lacks consistent, accepted analytics many advertisers are accustomed to

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