Less than 1 per cent of consumer mobile apps will make their developers decent money, according to IT consultants Gartner.
In a special report making predictions about the future of IT, the American firm has deduced that through to 2018, less than 0.01 percent of consumer mobile apps will be considered a financial success by their developers.
The thousands of mobile apps available on online app stores means that users are increasingly turning to recommendations from friends, social networks or online reviews to discern which apps to choose.
"The vast number of mobile apps may imply that mobile is a new revenue stream that will bring riches to many," said Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
"However, our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits and that many mobile apps are not designed to generate revenue, but rather are used to build brand recognition and product awareness or are just for fun. Application designers who do not recognise this may find profits elusive."
In particular, the number of good quality free apps has set consumer expectations of what should have a price tag attached extremely high and by 2017, 94.5 per cent of downloads will be for free apps.
And with a "hyperactive" market, which features more than 200 vendors producing app development platforms and millions of developers using these products and open-source tools, Dulaney says developers may struggle to make themselves heard through the noise.
“Of paid applications, about 90 per cent are downloaded less than 500 times per day and make less than $1,250 a day,” he said. “This is only going to get worse in the future when there will be even greater competition, especially in successful markets."