Google Play Store first in number of downloads, Canalys research says

by: Bogdan BeleApril 8, 2013

Google-Play-store Logo

The Google Play Store was the leading app store among the four major ones in terms of number of downloads in this year’s first quarter, according to Canalys’ App Interrogator research. The research takes into account data for the four major application stores – Google Play Store (which should be getting some look changes soon), Apple App Store, Windows Phone Store, and BlackBerry World.

Downloads from the Google Play Store accounted for 51 percent of the total number of 13.4 billion in this year’s first quarter, with the ones from Apple’s App Store closely following. The total number of app downloads has grown by 11 percent in the four stores combined (as compared to the previous quarter). This shouldn’t be a surprise, since Android has a commanding leadership in terms of market share, even if its growth is leveling in the U.S. at the moment.

On the financial front, Apple’s App Store is the clear leader, with a 74 percent share of revenue out of a total of $2.2 billion, in a quarter that has marked a 9 percent growth of the direct revenue (which includes paid apps, subscriptions, as well as in-app purchases).

Do you generally buy apps or do you prefer to use free ones?

Show Press Release

11% quarterly growth in downloads for leading app stores

Palo Alto, Shanghai, Singapore and Reading – Monday, 8 April 2013 – Canalys’ App Interrogator research, covering the leading app stores in more than 50 countries, shows healthy growth in the download and purchase of apps on mobile devices in what is now a maturing market. App downloads across the four stores – Apple’s App Store, Google Play, the Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry World – climbed 11% in Q1 2013 worldwide over the Q4 2012 total, while direct revenue from paid-for apps, in-app purchases and subscriptions combined grew by a slightly more modest 9%. Combined, downloads from the stores totaled more than 13.4 billion, and revenue reached $2.2 billion (before revenue sharing is taken into account).

‘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. 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,’ said Adam Daum, Canalys Chief Analyst, Analytics. ‘This is a multi-billion-dollar growth market, with more and more consumers around the world now comfortable and confident in finding apps, downloading them and making in-app purchases, on a growing addressable base of smart phones and tablets.’

Some of the strongest growth was seen in emerging markets, such as South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia, helped not least by the growing base of smart device users in those countries. But robust growth, both in revenue terms and download volumes, was seen in mature mobility markets, such as North America, up 8% and 6% respectively, and Western Europe, up 8% and 10% in Q1. Worldwide, Apple’s App Store accounted for the largest indexed proportion of revenue between the four stores, at around 74%, while the Google Play store saw the greatest number of downloads, accounting for about 51% of the stores’ collective total, with Apple close behind.

‘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 Tim Shepherd, Canalys Senior Analyst. ‘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. BlackBerry and Microsoft particularly need to continue to proactively work to attract fresh, innovative content and services to their respective catalogs, and fill gaps in their inventories. But they also need to increase device sales around BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8 to increase the addressable market opportunities on offer to developers.’

‘The strength of app ecosystems will increasingly help to determine winners and losers in the smart device industry. BlackBerry 10 now has more than 100,000 apps available through its storefront, showing good growth from the 70,000 it boasted at launch, and the new devices on the platform have given BlackBerry a much greater chance to compete for consumer attention. Its app story is going from strength to strength, but there is no room for complacency. Microsoft, with the help of partners such as Nokia, is also making good progress attracting some important titles to the Windows Phone platform, but it too needs to do more to make building apps for its platform a priority for developers and also do a better job of marketing and communicating the already established strength of its app story,’ said Shepherd.

‘The Apple-Google duopoly creates certain challenges for app publishers, carriers, investors and device vendors, so there is intense interest in the possible emergence of a third ecosystem,’ added Daum.

  • Phil Nolan

    But does this take into account the large number of apps that are free with ads? Look at Angry Birds, the Android version is free with ads (or pay) while the ios version is pay only.

    • Commentator Prime

      So because one platform offers you a free version, they should be penalized? That’s called a BONUS in my world…..

      • Its not free , its ad version .

        • Andrew Baxendale

          Does it require you to pay for any of it? No? Then it’s free.

          • Yaa it eats my mobile data ;)

          • TaggaDH

            Still free, sorry, I have no humour.

  • Phil Nolan

    I’m sure this is referring to the initial download, not updates.

  • Mikesphoneandtab

    If I find a good app I’ll pay for it. I think most average consumers just forget about the permanency of an app purchase. You will always own it. When you think of it that way $1.00 is nothing.

  • chris humphries

    No suprise their

  • I buy a lot of apps in the play store. Most are a great value. When I think back to how much applications and OS upgrades costed me back when I was a heavy windows user, play store apps are a huge bargain.

  • mark

    Yet I swear that the number of “Get this for (only) your iphone” adverts is on the increase, in the UK at least (and this is free applications for their website/service, so the argument about revenue doesn’t apply). Will we finally see an end to this? It’s like the new “Best viewed in Internet Explorer” (except, at least IE was the number one back then, can’t say the same for iphone…).

    Good news anyway. And for revenue, from a user point of view, I prefer a platform with lower cost or more free apps. From a developer point of view, there are lots more stats to look at, e.g., the per-developer/app downloads/revenue (I still get far more downloads from Nokia Store on Symbian, suspiciously absent from this list, than Google Play); the ad-revenue; the per-developer/app profit (I’ve read cases about people making losses from their apps due to development costs – the only one who benefits from the top revenue is Apple); some idea of the distribution, e.g., the median downloads/revenue/profit (is it just a few top sellers sucking up all the revenue?) For me, I like again how I can get loads of downloads on Nokia without any advertising, but on Google Play, a lot of the attention is sucked up by the already established big names.