There were winners and losers among the different app categories available via Google Play and the Apple App Store in February 2014, although games retains its leading position, according to the latest research from Distimo.

One of the big gainers has been finance, which generated almost 71 per cent more revenue in Google Play and 42 per cent more in Apple’s App Store compared to January 2014, despite a “slight overall market revenue decline” (February is a shorter month than January, meaning less time to buy).

Distimo also suggested that the Winter Olympic Games had a strong influence in the app market: the sports category generated 11 per cent more device installs on Google Play and 41 per cent more downloads on Apple’s App Store in February 2014 compared to the previous month.

But the medical and health & fitness categories were both on the slide during February, with Distimo noting that “February is no longer a month to keep up with the New Year’s resolutions”.

Games lead the way
As ever, games was the star category. Some 90 per cent of all revenue generated via Google Play and 74 per cent of App Store revenue came from this sector during February 2014.

And apps in this category monetise well, punching above its weight when compared to download percentages. For Google Play, the global share of games in terms of device installs was around 41 per cent in February 2014, and for the Apple Store the share of downloads was similar.

Distimo noted that games accounted for 51 per cent of downloads on the iPad, compared with 36 per cent on the iPhone, suggesting that games’ users prefer the bigger-screen device.

And this category of apps also accounted for 61 per cent of downloads via Amazon’s Appstore.

Across-the-board, entertainment was the second most popular category in download terms.

Download volumes Appe App Store per device



Rising stars
Only four categories escaped Google Play’s revenue slide in February 2014 compared with January (caused by the shorter month, but partially offset by strong development of the store in Taiwan): finance, sports, news & magazines and games, although the last of these “barely pulls into positive numbers with a 0.3 per cent increase”.

The finance category benefited from the “extreme popularity of TurboTax SnapTax in the US” during the early months of the year, a similar situation to last year, when the app performed strongly from January to April.

In terms of device installs, sports is the only Google Play category to show an uptick, which “should come as no surprise given the many apps about the Winter Olympic Games”. But Distimo noted that this was coupled with a 28 per cent downturn for health & fitness apps, suggesting perhaps that paying attention to various Olympic sport performances came at the cost of fitness activity.

Looking at a year-on-year comparison, “most” categories on Google Play grew both in terms of device installs and generated revenue. The social category is leading in revenue terms, with a “whopping 350 per cent” increase, while the sharpest increase in device installs comes from photography, with almost 76 per cent more installs.

A similar picture was also seen in the App Store, where the sports category saw a 15 per cent increase in revenue and 41 per cent increase in downloads month-on-month. Again, health & fitness apps suffered a sharp decrease.

Despite the strong performance in finance apps and growth for the catalogues and food & drink categories, overall the revenue trend for the store was “in the negative direction”.

Top categories Google Play










Winter Olympics boost
With regard to Winter Olympic related apps, the company said that the US was “the indisputable leader on both platforms” – although it came fourth in the medals table. Russia (perhaps unsurprisingly) was next, taking second place on Google Play and third place in the App Store. Countries with the least interest were China on Google Play and Brazil for Apple’s store.