Apps in Apple’s App Store need far more downloads to rise up the rankings than on Google Play or Amazon Appstore, but the potential to rake in money is much higher if developers score an iOS-based hit than with other app stores.

This is one of the headline findings from Distimo, which has investigated how many downloads are needed to enter the top charts in the major app stores, as well as how much revenue is required to rise up the top grossing ranks.

Using data extracted from its Distimo AppIQ, covering May 2013, the analyst firm found that daily gross revenue from an iPhone app in the US needed to reach $12,000 before it made it into the top 50 of gross revenue rankings. (Daily gross revenue from iPad downloads, which Distimo treats as a separate market from the iPhone, is $10,200 for a top 50 placing.)

A Google Play app, on the other hand, could make it to 50th position by racking up daily gross revenue of $6,600.

Distimo points out, however, that a Google Play app needs to generate this daily average for a longer period than in the Apple store to rise up the ranks.


Download details

Distimo found that in the US free app market, an app listed in the Amazon Appstore requires around nine times fewer downloads than one in the Apple App catalogue to occupy 50th position.

Moreover, the number of downloads needed in the Amazon Appstore for paid apps to reach a top 50 position was 2.8 times lower than in the Apple App Store for iPhone during the period.

For App Store developers looking for greater visibility by entering the top 10 in the US free charts (for iPhone), they would need – according to Distimo’s May 2013 figures – a daily download average of 72,000 throughout the month. An app in the paid charts, ranking number 10, would need a daily average of 4,000.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the number of downloads required to ensure a top position can vary on a daily basis. Looking again at the free iPhone app market in the US, 9 per cent more downloads are needed (on average) on a Saturday than a Monday to reach a top 10 position. For Sundays, it’s 11 per cent higher.

Emphasising the difference between the iPhone and iPad markets, Distimo points out that it takes at least 8,200 downloads per day for an iPad app to break into the top-50 free chart. That’s about 2.8 times fewer than in the App Store for iPhone.


Regional differences

The differences in the size of app markets across the world makes a difference in terms of the number of downloads an app has to generate to reach top chart positions.

In Japan, for example, an app needs fewer than 40 per cent of the downloads needed to obtain a top 25 position in the US.

In upcoming markets like Russia, Mexico and Turkey, the downloads required to obtain a top 25 free position are still well below the amount of downloads required to reach the same position in the US.

However, in Russia, more downloads are required now for a top 25 position than in Germany on average. This happened for the first time ever in May 2013.