The three fastest-growing app markets in 2013 all came from Asia, although the US maintained its position as the biggest revenue-generating territory overall, according to research from Distimo.

Seeing the biggest increase was South Korea, which saw growth of 759 per cent for the January to November 2013 period relative to 2012. This was followed by China (up 280 per cent) and Japan (up 245 per cent).

During the same period, Japan was the second-biggest market overall after the US, with South Korea in third place. The US was seventh in terms of app growth, at 81 per cent.

Distimo noted that markets such as Australia and the UK, which reached high volumes last year, maintained their top-six positions overall, despite being placed ninth and tenth respectively for increases in the first 11 months of 2013.

The company said that “over the whole year of 2013, all markets showed a positive growth”.

revenue-growth-rates-by-country_2013 (1)

App Store, Play split

As noted previously, Google Play has gradually been increasing its share of the revenue during 2013, from 30 per cent of the combined Apple/Google total in January to 37 per cent in November.

This came due to slower growth in the App Store: the Apple store saw a 12 per cent increase in aggregated revenue over the last 6 months, compared with 51 per cent for the Google store.

The combined revenue increase for the iOS and Android catalogues was 24 per cent.

Distimo calculated that on a “typical” day in November 2013, revenue for the top 200 grossing titles in the App Store was “over $18 million”, compared with around $12 million for the Play Store.

In contrast, in November 2012, the estimates were at $15 million for the App Store, and $3.5 million for Google Play.

Continued freemium growth

The proportion of revenue generated by in-app purchases increased from 77 per cent to 92 per cent in the Apple store, and from 89 per cent to 98 per cent on Google Play, meaning that other business models – paid apps with in-app purchases, and pure paid apps – have “significantly smaller revenue share, which is even smaller on Google Play than iOS”.

But those are global figures, and there are differences on a market-by-market basis. For example, looking at the App Store in the US, paid apps make up 4 per cent of the total, which falls to just 1 per cent for the same store in Japan.

And there are also differences based on product categories. The revenue in the top categories – games and social networking – is largely generated from free titles with in-app purchases, and news titles also score highly in this category, due to the adoption of subscription models.

Categories such as productivity, navigation and education see a larger proportion of revenue coming from paid apps, or paid apps with in-app purchases.

Distimo Revenue-by-business-model_categories updated

Top titles

The top grossing iOS and Android apps generally came from the games category, although not exclusively.

The top three Apple store titles were Clash of the Clans (Supercell), Candy Crush Saga (King) and Hay Day (Supercell). All of the top 10 titles were from the games category, and the top titles were all available before the start of the year, before subsequently continuing to perform well.

Notable was Minecraft – Pocket Edition (Mojang), which is a paid app without in-app purchases – a different model to the other nine top titles, which were free with in-app purchases.

For Google Play, the top three grossing apps were Candy Crush Saga (King), Puzzle & Dragons (GungHo) and messaging title LINE.

Distimo noted that the Google chart includes apps from more diverse regions, for example with LINE being strong in Japan, and Kakao-based offerings popular in South Korea – reflecting the strength of the Google store in these markets.

King’s top spot, alongside its number two in the App Store, “makes King not only a successful cross-cultural, but also a successful cross-store publisher”.