Midia research, created a new report looking at the global app markets, discovered that out of the top 700 grossing apps, 84.9% are games. Social networking came next with a paltry 4.1%, then dating with 3.9% and navigation and travel accounting for only 2.3%.
The report notes that the free-to-play business model has expanded the market hugely and is one of the reasons for the dominance of games within the stores, as other app types have yet to utilise the model as effectively as games.
To create the report, Midia took a snapshot 50 top grossing apps on Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play store in May 2014. The researchers looked at the UK, US, Canadian, German, French, Spanish and Italian markets, then examined trends in the 700 apps it found.
The report outlines the challenges facing developers working on mobile games. To begin with, there are over 1m apps on both the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The report concludes the mobile apps market is a “superstar economy” dominated by a small number of companies – particularly those making freemium games. Just 50 companies account for 81% of these top grossing apps across both stores. On Apple’s store, 105 companies account for the 350 top grossing apps, while on Google Play, only 81 companies make up the list.
The report also notes a self-perpetuating cycle at work, explaining that with freemium games so lucrative, their publishers can afford to outspend other app genres to keep them at the top of the charts.
It’s not good news for the UK games market. The US, Sweden and Japan collectively account for 61% of the top grossing apps studied for the report. 75% of the Swedish apps were made by Candy Crush Saga developer King, with Mojang’s Minecraft also making a significant contribution.
Finnish developer Supercell spends a reported $1m a day on app marketing and generates $5m a day in revenue. “These dynamics further bias the market to those with the deepest pockets,” suggests the report.
Supercell said in February that it made $892m of revenues from just two smartphone and tablet games in 2013. Meanwhile, King’s filing to go public the same month revealed that its 2013 revenues were just under $1.9bn.
You can read a more comprehensive article on the report from the excellent Stuart Dredge over on The Guardian website.