Distimo: Asia is where the big app money is made

Asia is the most lucrative app market in the world, according to a report released from Distimo. The mobile analytics firm extracted daily Apple App Store and Google Play downloads and revenue estimates from its AppIQ service's data for the analysis.

  • 41 percent of the total mobile app revenue globally in December 2013 came from Asia, while North America generated 31 percent and Europe 23 percent.
  • Revenue in Asia increased by 162 percent year-over-year (December 2012 to December 2013), while North America's revenue grew by 46 percent.
  • South Korea witnessed the steepest growth in revenue. Money generated in the country grew by 271 percent, with Google Play driving most of that growth.
  • Apps in China generated 96 percent of revenue from in-app purchases. Japan and South Korea were closely behind China with 94 percent and 91 percent of total revenue from IAP, respectively.
  • Only 3.5 percent of devices in China have Google Play services installed, which is required in order to run Google Play and other Google apps. Instead, Wandoujia is a mobile content search engine for Android that drives much of the activity.

According to Distimo's report, in-app revenue from free apps was the most popular business model by a wide margin in December, 2013.

"For Asia the divide in revenue between the Apple App Store and Google Play is almost half-and-half, while for North America, three-quarters of the revenue comes from the Apple App Store and one-quarter from Google Play. The revenue divide in North America also applies to Europe," the report said. "Clearly, Asia is a different landscape than what's seen in North America and Europe. Revenue in Asia is more evenly distributed between the Apple App Store and Google Play, while the Apple App Store generates the lion's share of revenue in North America and Europe."

Besides showing that the United States is by no means the only place developers should focus their attention, Distimo may have provided the best-ever argument for concentrating on the freemium model. The fact that in-app purchases are driving the majority of the revenue in Asia across the board may put an end to any debate over the future of paid downloads on a worldwide basis. 

The other takeaway: Foreign titles are hugely popular in Asia, particularly on Android, where many of the top titles--Angry Birds, Temple Run II, Fruit Ninja--would be familiar names among American mobile game users as well.

For more:
- to download the complete Distimo report, click here

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