How big of a money maker are apps? What country's GDP is the size of the global app economy? How does app use compare to TV in terms of time spent per day? Wall Street Journal's Jason Bellini has answers:
New York Times: As Boom Lures App Creators, Tough Part Is Making a Living
Apple's ranking of the top 25 most-downloaded paid apps (see below), games dominate the list, led by ”Angry Birds.” Three other versions of the popular game from Rovio of Finland are in the top 25. In fact, the first five in the ranking are all games, including “Fruit Ninja,” “Doodle Jump,” and “Cut the Rope.”
That changes at No. 6 with WhatsApp, one of the most popular messaging apps in the world at 99 cents.
Canalys, a US research firm said in April that 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).
Canalys said last December that a small number of developers, almost entirely game companies, continue to generate the majority of revenue at the leading app stores - Apple’s App Store (iPhone only) and Google Play. Based on daily App Interrogator surveys, Canalys estimated that just 25 developers accounted for 50% of app revenue in the US in these stores during the first 20 days of November 2012. Between them, they made $60 million from paid-for downloads and in-app purchases over this period.
Of the top 25 earning apps' developers, all but for one exception (popular music service Pandora with its Pandora Radio app) are game developers. They include cross-platform game developers as well as mobile game specialists, and include Zynga, Electronic Arts, Disney, Kabam, Rovio, Glu, Gameloft and Storm8’s TeamLava. ‘Part of the story here is that successful game developers almost invariably have multiple titles generating revenue,’ said Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones. ‘Zynga, for example, had 15 titles in the list of top 300 grossing iPhone apps on average in Apple’s App Store every day, and nine titles in the equivalent list in the Google Play store.
Here’s the list of the most-downloaded paid iPhone apps:
- Angry Birds
- Fruit Ninja
- Doodle Jump
- Cut the Rope
- Angry Birds Seasons
- Words With Friends
- Tiny Wings
- Angry Birds Space
- Pocket God
- Plants vs. Zombies
- The Game of Life
- The Omoron Test
- Where’s My Water?
- Draw Something (Premium)
- Angry Birds Star Wars
- MotionX GPS Drive
- Minecraft – Pocket Edition
- Color Splash
- The Sims 3
The Milliken Institute held a panel discussion on teh app economy in April 2013 - - scroll through to about 6:40 minutes to get to the start of the video.
Though the most popular smart phone activity may be flinging kamikaze birds across a small screen, mobile apps mean big business -- even for small businesses. Navigation has become social, with programs showing up-to-the-second data about your drive from Tucson to Toledo. We can now exchange business cards with a quick phone bump. We can board jets and enter theaters ticketlessly - and manage our health through monitoring devices that connect to electronic medical records. Demand seems insatiable, and many developers, designers, and marketers are well-rewarded. Apple has reported more than 40 billion app downloads, covering 775,000 programs on the App Store alone, and those developers have been paid, in aggregate, more than $7 billion. About 500,000 jobs have been created in a field that didn't exist five years ago. This is the new apps economy. It's global, it's social, it's empowering a new generation of entrepreneurs and it's changing the way we do business.