2011: A Look Back at the Leading Mobile App Stores

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It’s been an exciting year for mobile with milestones and developments aplenty, and as the year comes to an end, we’d like to reflect back on some of the highlights of the mobile industry. First, let’s take a closer look at the two leading app marketplaces- the Apple App Store and Android Market.

Today, there are more than 1 million apps in the major app stores, according to Mobilewalla, with Apple App Store and Android Market accounting for around 91%. The App Store leads with over 590,000 apps, followed closely behind by Android Market with over 380,000 apps. Apps in Amazon Appstore, Blackberry App World, Nokia Ovi Store, and Windows Phone Marketplace account for the remaining 9% of apps.

Image courtesy of Apple

Apple App Store
The popularity of apps has grown tremendously in a short period of time. It was only three years ago in July 2008 that Apple released their App Store, the first of its kind, with 500 apps and 0 downloads. In one year, the App Store grew over 10,000% to have over 55,000 apps and over 1 billion downloads. And in two years, the App Store grew to have over 225,000 apps and over 5 billion downloads. In July 2011, the App Store had over 425,000 apps and over 15 billion downloads worldwide. According to Mobilewalla, an average of 745 apps are released daily.

Currently, there are over 590,000 apps which have been downloaded over 18 billion times in the App Store- an increase of 162% and 260% in App Store size and downloads, respectively, in a little over a year.

Image courtesy of Google

Android Market
Android Market, on the other hand, was released by Google in October 2008. In March 2009, Android Market had around 2,300 apps available. A little over a year later in August 2010, there were over 80,000 apps available and 1 billion downloads. In July 2011, the Android Market grew to 250,000 apps and over 6 billion downloads. 543 apps on average are released daily, according to Mobilewalla.

Currently, there are over 380,000 apps and over 10 billion downloads in the Android Market- an increase of 375% and 900% in Android Market size and downloads, respectively, in a little over a year.

Free Apps
While the App Store leads in the number of apps and downloads, Android Market is a leader in free apps. Out of the hundreds of thousands of apps in the Android Market, over 67% are free compared to the 37% of apps in the App Store. In fact, Windows Phone Marketplace follows behind the Android Market with 52%.

A recent study conducted by Distimo, an app store analytics firm, found that iPhone apps in the App Store generate 4 times as much revenue as apps in the Android Market do. They found this figure by examining the top 200 grossing apps of 2011. Distimo also found that half of the revenue from the top 200 grossing apps in the App Store came from apps that follow the “freemium” business model- free apps that collect revenue by offering exclusive or advanced content- compared to the 65% of revenue that “freemium” apps in the Android Market produced.

Another study from Piper Jaffray, a leading middle-market investment bank, concluded that the App Store controls around 85 to 90% of total app revenue market share, producing around $3.4 billion in revenue for developers compared to the $240 million in revenue in the Android Market.

While results may vary, what is known is that the mobile app industry is lucrative.

What’s Next for Mobile Apps
It’s truly amazing to see how fast apps have grown in these few years- from zero apps to over one million, from no app stores to dozens, and from zero app downloads to over tens of billions, the popularity and profitability of mobile apps is undeniable. We’re looking forward to what lies ahead for the mobile industry in 2012.

One thought on “2011: A Look Back at the Leading Mobile App Stores

  1. “over 380,000 apps, over 10 billion downloads, over a year” What a count man! “543 apps on average are released daily” but every app is unique and is very very interesting. I just love Android apps. Thanks for sharing such nice posts.

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