As more users realize the value of mobile apps in terms of how they personalize their smartphones, this has led to an increase in mobile app downloads and revenue for the top app stores globally.
Research firm Canalys released its App Interrogator study Monday stating that global app downloads across the top four app stores, namely Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry World, jumped 11 percent during the first quarter of 2013 to reach more than 13.4 billion.
This, in turn, meant that revenue from paid apps, in-app purchases and subscriptions for these four stores combined grew by 9 percent to hit US$2.2 billion. The figure represents revenue before revenue-sharing with app developers has been taken into account, the study noted.
In terms of market comparisons, some of the strongest growth was seen in emerging markets such as South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia, given that there is a growing base of smart device users in those countries.
That said, robust growth in terms of download and revenue were still driven by mature markets in North America and Western Europe. App revenue for the four online stores in North America, for instance, grew 8 percent while Western Europe saw an 8 percent hike during this first quarter.
Apple App Store continues to dominate the global revenue share though, garnering 74 percent of the total market. Tim Shepherd, senior analyst at Canalys, said: "Apple App Store and Google Play remain the heavyweights in the app store world. In comparison, BlackBerry World and Windows Phone Store remain distant challengers today, though they still should not be ignored."
Shepherd added the strength of these app ecosystems will ultimately help determine the winners and losers in the smart device industry.