2013: The Year of the App in Review

Posted on January 10th, 2014 by


2013 was a record year for the mobile app industry. As mobile phones continue to spread around the world, apps are being downloaded more frequently and used more often. The two biggest app stores at the moment are still the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, and each app store paints a pretty awesome picture about the future of the mobile app industry. Below are some interesting numbers and trends about each app store that mobile app developers should keep an eye on as 2014 kicks off:


App Store v. Google Play


Both popular app stores broke records last year and continued to establish themselves as the two most important app stores on the mobile market. Over the past 6 months, the combined revenue of the two major app stores grew by an amazing 21 percent. This increase in revenue comes even as each app store is embracing free apps. The percentage of free apps on each app store is about the same at above 90 percent. Mobile games and in-app purchasing have replaced the need for paid apps. In 2012, each app store made a large portion of its respective revenue from in-app purchases.


Interestingly enough, none of the apps on the Top Grossing App list in the App Store were released in 2013. Google Play saw a few “young” apps make the Top Grossing list, but this trend could suggest that it is becoming harder and harder for apps to gain recognition.


Google Play accounted for almost 75 percent of total app downloads in 2013 while the App Store accounted for only about 18 percent. Google has a right to be proud of those numbers, but Apple has been flaunting a much more impressive figure. In 2013, the App Store raked in $10 billion dollars for Apple, giving the App Store 63 percent of the app revenue share. Apple also paid its 15 billionth dollar to its developers.


These figures from the App Store are fantastic news for Apple developers, but Android developers have no reason to worry. Google Play’s revenue share has actually been growing at the expense of Apple’s. Since June 2013, Google Play’s revenue jumped 51 percent, which increased its total share of the revenue by 7%.


This may be interesting for developers as well: Some apps are seeing download volumes in the Amazon App Store which are nearly equal to that of Google Play and the App Store.


In terms of global app markets, it may come as no surprise that the top country for app revenue is the United States, followed closely by Japan and South Korea. Looking at iOS data only, that list pretty much stays in the same. For Google Play, Japan leads the pack followed by South Korea, the US, and Germany.


In 2013, pretty much every global market saw an increase in mobile app revenue. The biggest year-to-year growth was seen in South Korea, followed by China and Japan.


So, here are the important takeaways:


  • Free apps which use in-app purchases generate the most revenue
  • The Apple App Store is still the revenue king, but Google Play is closing the gap
  • Asian markets are growing faster than any other global market


Will 2014 be another record year for the app industry? We’re excited to find out!



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