For mobile app sales, Asia's still the sweet spot

Mobile app sales in Asia rocketed up 146 percent in 2013 as mobile users in South Korea, Hong Kong and China repeatedly returned to Google Play and the App Store for a wide variety of new apps.


Asia continues to outpace the rest of the world in mobile app sales, accounting for 41 percent of all mobile app revenue in 2013 – well ahead of North America (31 percent) and Europe (23 percent), according to mobile apps research firm Distimo.

More telling, particularly for developers looking to sell their wares on Google Play and the Apple App Store, mobile app sales rose 162 percent last year within Asia as countries such as South Korea (up 271 percent), Hong Kong (211 percent) and China (203 percent) more than tripled their downloads from a year ago.

For comparison, mobile apps sales in North America and Europe only increased 46 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

"The Asian app store market is a train that can't be stopped," Distimo analyst Anne Hezemans wrote in the report. "Now no one can deny the enormity of Asia's presence in the mobile app space."

The report found that the revenue split between apps purchased through Google Play and the App Store in Asia was roughly even while about three-quarters of downloads from customers in North America and Europe came from the App Store.

For the record, Angry Birds Go! was the most downloaded game in Asia last month. Within Asia, Japan was by far the most lucrative nation, followed by South Korea and China.

Earlier this week, Gartner issued a report predicting mobile apps will generate more than $77 billion in revenue worldwide by 2017.

Distimo's research concluded that the so-called "freemium" model is by far the most dominant and successful mobile app business model in Asia.