A number of countries have the potential to shake up the current hierarchy in the global app market, according to a report produced by analyst firm App Annie and content trade body MEF.
Markets such as the US, Japan, China and the UK tend to dominate in terms of App Store revenue, while Japan, the US, South Korea and Germany do the same for Google Play. These top markets are relatively stable.
But in the report MEF identified a number of growth markets where mobile infrastructure and development are creating opportunities for app developers.
These include established countries such as China and Germany, as well as emerging markets such as Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, India and Indonesia.
Downloads surge in emerging markets
Emerging markets appeared to drive the increase in downloads across the App Store and Google Play in Q3.
While China, the world’s second largest app market, saw a 1.1x increase and Germany remained flat, downloads doubled in Brazil, with India (1.3x), Mexico (1.6x), Turkey (1.6x) and Indonesia (1.7x) all seeing healthy increases.
It should be noted that downloads in China were mainly for iOS as Android apps are sourced from third-party app stores, rather than Google’s official storefront.
The gains in these emerging markets were largely driven by the increasing popularity of Google Play, according to the report.
Brazil and India were beaten only by the US in terms of Google Play downloads in the third quarter while Mexico was ranked sixth, followed by Indonesia (seventh) and Turkey (eighth).
While the increase in downloads in Brazil was largely driven by Google Play, App Annie noted that Apple is looking to make more progress in the market.
India’s strong growth in smartphone shipments was echoed in Google Play downloads. And with smartphone penetration set to rise from a relatively low 10 per cent currently, there remains huge potential in the market.
App downloads have also kept pace with increasing smartphone penetration in Mexico and Turkey. Smartphone sales grew 75 per cent in Mexico in 2013, and are expected to grow by 40 per cent this year.
Showing the speed at which emerging markets are making progress, some have actually overtaken more established markets for download numbers.
Germany, for example, saw stable download levels over the past year, and as a result, was passed by Indonesia in terms of total iOS and Android downloads.
Indonesia has seen double-digit quarterly growth for the past nine quarters, with the country’s smartphone penetration forecast to double over the next four years to surpass 40 per cent.
Germany leads the way for revenue growth
Although Germany’s download performance was static, revenue growth was not. It saw a 1.8x increase in revenue from iOS and Google Play combined, the largest of any market.
The report found that while Google Play saw approximately double the download volume of the App Store in Germany, it is also making inroads into Apple’s revenue lead.
By the end of the second quarter, Google Play had almost caught the App Store revenue, despite sitting at around half a year earlier.
The emerging markets also saw strong revenue growth, although the total generated remained significantly below the more-established markets.
App Store revenue grew significantly in China, which is “proving to be pivotal to Apple’s international growth strategy”, according to the report.