According to the data available with Gartner, free mobile app downloads stood at 57.33 billion in 2012, while 6.65 billion paid-for downloads were made during the same year.
A mobile application (or mobile app) is a software application that runs on smartphones, tablets among others.
"Free apps currently account for about 60 per cent and 80 per cent of the total available apps in Apple's App Store and Google Play, respectively," said Gartner Research Director Brian Blau.
The research firm expects free app downloads to touch 92.88 billion in 2013, 127.70 billion by 2014, 167.10 billion by 2015 and 211.31 billion by 2016.
While, the paid-for mobile app downloads are projected to touch 9.19 billion in 2013, it would be 11.11 billion by 2014, 12.57 billion by 2015 and 13.50 billion by 2016, it added.
According to Gartner data, share of free app downloads is expected to grow continuously.
They constituted 89.6 per cent of the total downloads in 2012 and are expected to contribute 91 per cent in 2013, 92 per cent by 2014, 93 per cent by 2015, 94 per cent by 2016 and 94.5 per cent by 2017.
However, the firm expects revenues from mobile apps downloads to register a healthy increase of 44 per cent in 2013 as against last year.
"Mobile apps stores will see annual downloads reach 102 billion in 2013, up from 64 billion in 2012. Total revenue in 2013 will reach USD 26 billion, up from USD 18 billion in 2012," Gartner said.