What’s Happening in App Sales, Second Quarter, 2013

Courtesy of our favourite App geeks at App Annie, we have some fresh stats for the second quarter of 2013. The App Annie Market Index is used by many mobile app developers to keep track of market trends.

At Smarter Apps, we always recommend anyone who is serious about app creation and development to keep track of what apps are selling and where they are selling. We scour the Internet for statistics that we feel are relevant and can help you decide what kind of app to put your resources into developing.

We won’t give away their entire report, but here are the major trends we see that are important to mobile app developers.

Trend #1: Google Play has More Downloads, but iOS App Store Creates More Revenue

It’s no secret that Android’s Google Play and Apple’s iOS App Store are in a fierce battle for supremacy in the apps world. In the second quarter of this year, Google Play had 10% more apps downloaded than the App Store. However, the iOS App Store created 2.3 times as much revenue as Google Play.

The takeaway: Google Play targets less-affluent buyers than Apple. Consequently, more free apps are downloaded on Google Play, while more paid apps are downloaded from the iOS App Store. If you plan to release an app on only one of the platforms instead of both, pay close attention to the demographics.

Trend #2: US Dominates Downloads over Both Platforms, Asia Makes Strong Showing

No matter what you think of the US, they are still the biggest market for apps, coming in first place for downloads in both iOS and Google Play and first place in revenue for iOS. They also finished third in revenue from Google Play. Asia dominated the rest of the positions in the top three of four categories: downloads in iOS and Google Play; and revenue in iOS and Google Play.

Japan had the most revenue in Google Play and the second-most revenue in iOS. South Korea showed up in second place in Google Play revenue and downloads. China was tied with the US for first in iOS downloads. India came in third in Google Play downloads and the UK finished third in iOS revenue.

The takeaway: As we have mentioned often on this site the last year or so, Asia, particularly Japan and South Korea, is a great place for Android apps; China is starting to sell a lot of iOS devices and is showing up in their metrics. In other words, Asia is the fastest-growing app market in the world, so it may be beneficial for those in the field of app development to pay a bit more attention to this region.

Games are still King of the Apps

Games still account for the lion’s share of the app market. Although we love useful apps here at Smarter Apps, we certainly can’t ignore or downplay the domination of the market by games. Games created 75% of iOS app revenue and 80% of Android app revenue and they made up 40% of downloads on both platforms.

Google Play users preferred communication apps, as they finished in second place in both revenue and downloads. In the iOS App store, entertainment apps were the second-most downloaded and social networking apps created the second-most revenue. Music and social apps in general had a strong showing in both stores.

The takeaway: First of all, everybody likes games. The most important stat: games represented 40% of downloads but 75-80% of revenue. This means that games are still the most profitable apps on the “food chain.” Social, music and communication apps are also good bets, especially if they are creative and can fill a need or a niche.

What we Think

There is still plenty of opportunities out there to make a lot of money in app development or creation. Obviously, games are huge and social and communication apps are popular. So, what does that mean to a mobile app developer?

The most important take here is that if you are great at games, go for it. We will be happy to build a game for you. Since games are extremely competitive, we must caution you that you need to do a great job of marketing rather than “waiting for it to go viral.” Your game may very well go viral, but the chances are a lot higher if you do the work to help it do so.

We love useful apps that solve problems because they sell easily to the niche whose problem gets solved. We believe that it is easier to promote and market within a smaller niche than the general “games” market. Solve someone’s problems and they will pay you all of the money you want.

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