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Google Play munched App Store's market share in 2013

Google Play grew its share of revenue generated by online app distribution in 2013 as Apple's leading online app hub lost a bit, according to Distimo's recently published year-end review of the market.

Apple's App Store was still the leading revenue-earner among portals providing access to mobile apps as of a November study by Distimo, with a 63 per cent share of the market. Google's rival app hub was pulling in a 37 per cent share of revenue at that time, but Google Play's share of the revenue pie was up from 30 percent in June. Apple held a 70 per cent share of app-generated revenue in June.

Meanwhile, Amazon's Appstore is starting to come on as a real player in the mobile app distribution game, Distimo reported.

"For some apps, the download volumes from the Amazon Appstore started to compete with download volumes in established app stores like the Apple App Store and Google Play," the research firm said.

One trend worth watching is that paid apps are giving way to "freemium" apps as both drivers of revenue and popular downloads in online mobile app stores. For example, back in January 2013, free apps including in-app purchasing represented about 77 per cent of app-generated revenue in Apple's App Store. By November 2013, they were the source of a whopping 92 per cent of revenue, with paid apps and paid apps with in-app purchasing slipping from about 23 per cent of revenue to just 8 per cent.

In Google Play, freemium apps went from providing 89 per cent of revenue via in-app purchases at the beginning of the year to 98 per cent by November.

"The general trend continuous in 2013 [is that] the revenue share from free apps with in-app purchases is clearly increasing on both platforms, the Apple App Store and Google Play," Distimo said.

In terms of global markets which generate the most mobile app revenue, the United States was once again the leader, followed in order by Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Germany, Canada, France, and Russia, according to the researcher.

But while the US was again top in revenue generated by apps for Apple's iPhone and iPad, users in South Korea and Japan skewed much more toward making purchases for Android devices via Google Play. According to Distimo's November research, about half of the app-generated revenue coming from Japan was pushed through Google Play. South Korea, home of Android device giant Samsung, was even more skewed toward Google's online app portal—more than 80 per cent of all South Korean app revenue went through Google Play.

Image: Flickr (asgw)