25 app developers take home 50% revenue from total App Store and Play Store sales, study says

December 6, 2012
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The mobile applications available for both Android and iOS alone make up a billion dollar market and provide a huge opportunity for big as well as small developers, because the possibilities of creating apps for such powerful and immensely popular platforms are limitless. There are over 700,000 apps available on each of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. Those numbers alone tell us how huge these marketplaces are. But does big revenues mean that the money is going to everyone? Well according to one study that isn’t so.

Analyst firm Canalys has found that only 25 developers accounted for 50% of app revenues in the U.S. App Store and Google Play Store in the first 20 days of November 2012. During that time, these 25 developers earned revenues of $60 million through paid app sales and in-app purchases.

Interestingly but unsurprisingly, 24 out of those 25 developers are game developers including some big names such as Zynga, Electronic Arts, Gameloft, Disney, Rovio, Kabam, Glu, and Storm 8’s Team Lava. The only non-gaming developer that made it in this top 25 was Pandora, which is a music streaming service.

The study not only reveals the top revenue earning developers of App Store and Google Play Store but also highlights that out of 300 paid applications available in Apple’s App Store, 145 are games. Similarly on the Play Store 116 out of the 300 top paid applications for the Android platform are games.

When we look at the free apps available in both of these stores, 94 out of the 300 top free apps are games on Apple’s App Store, whereas 110 out of top 300 free apps list are games on the Play Store.

Commenting on his firm’s study, Senior Analyst Tim Shepherd said that discoverability is a big issue in both of these app marketplaces – which is true. When you perform a search for racing games on the Play Store the top results will include games from big publishers and those that are already selling well which makes it difficult for new comers to grab customer attention.

Similar is the case with non-gaming app makers, as they are not marketing their apps the way game developers do, according to Shepherd. However, this is more related to market trend than a promotion problem in my opinion as people love to play games on their large screen phones these days.

Canalys thinks that the top game developers that are already making huge sums of money will take full advantage of the upcoming holiday season by offering special offers and discounts for users. So if you are a game developer yourself now you know what you have do in the coming weeks.

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