Posted 04/09/2013 at 10:19 AM
Posted 4 years ago
If smartphones are big business, then the app stores that run on the various devices are equally so. According to new research from analyst firm Canalys, the first quarter of 2013 saw the top four app stores reach 13.4 million app downloads worldwide, generating $2.2 billion in paid app sales, subscriptions and in-app purchases. Those figures amount to an 11 percent increase over the whole of 2012 combined.
“Apps have had a huge impact on the way consumers use mobile devices, what they value, and what they expect from smart phones and tablets,” said Adam Daum, chief analyst for analytics at Canalys in a statement. “They are now central to how consumers engage with content and connected services, and how they personalize their devices around the app-enabled features that are important to them.”
While the research bands the top four app stores together – Apple’s App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry World – it is Apple and Android that are the driving force behind the numbers.
As the biggest smartphone platform in the world, Android naturally accounts for the majority of downloads in Q1, with 51 percent (6.8 billion). However, Google’s Play Store is yet to compete with Apple when it comes to monetizing, Cupertino boasting 74 percent of all revenues – some $1.6 billion.
“Apple’s App Store and Google Play remain the heavyweights in the app store world. In comparison, BlackBerry World and the Windows Phone Store remain distant challengers today, though they still should not be ignored,” said Canalys senior analyst Tim Shepard. “Each of these four stores represents a different market proposition for developers, and remains the primary outlet to reach users on the platforms they serve.”
On both downloads and revenue, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry World post only single digits and, given the concentration of Apple and Android handsets, it is hard to see how Microsoft or BlackBerry can close the gap on the duopoly, especially in the Western markets. Canalys, however, believes the smaller app stores could prosper in developing markets, with Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa slowly making the upgrade to smartphones from feature phones.
There is revenue to be made by both Microsoft and BlackBerry in emerging markets, but they will have a fight on their hands beating the big two.