The “app superpowers” of Japan, South Korea and the US collectively generated more revenue in 2014
than the rest of the world combined, highlighting their ability to monetise even as the market saturates
and download growth slows, according to App Annie’s review of the year.
Brazil, Russia, India and China are now “appealing for their monetisation potential as well as their
expansive audience”, after growing combined revenue by more than 120 per cent over the twelve
months. For this year, the analyst firm is forecasting strong performances from Indonesia, Mexico,
Turkey and Vietnam, as “continued investment in telecommunication infrastructure in these emerging
markets should set the stage for rapid growth in their mobile economies”.
Top apps and games
In terms of top apps, Facebook was the clear winner by downloads, with Facebook Messenger, Facebook,
WhatsApp and Instagram landing the top four spots for worldwide iOS and Google Play downloads (not
including games). The top ten included a number of other apps which feature communications as a core
theme, including Skype (Microsoft), Viber (Rakuten) Line, Twitter and Snapchat.
In terms of games, King’s Candy Crush Saga was number one, with King also being the only publisher to
have two titles in the top ten (Farm Heroes Saga is number four).
When it comes to revenue, the picture is slightly different. LINE was top app, with LINE Play in third
place, sandwiching Pandora Radio in number two. LINE Manga also secured a top-ten ranking, and the
Disney Tsum Tsum app for LINE also appeared in the top ten games by revenue, indicating the strength
of its broad portfolio.
Top revenue generating game was Supercell’s Clash of Clans, with Hay Day from the same publisher also
securing a top-ten place. Candy Crush Saga was third in revenue terms, with Farm Heroes Saga in
Apps transforming travel
Downloads of the top 10 travel and transportation apps grew by more than 30 per cent in download
terms, as titles “turn the taxi industry on its head”. Companies such as Uber and Lyft have secured “large
user bases and even larger valuations”.
Companies in this sector are also looking to strategic partnerships to drive adoption, with App Annie
citing Uber’s integration with Google Maps and Lyft’s partnership with crowdsourcing public transport
Mobile video gaining ground
A number of factors have also lead to an increase in the popularity of mobile video ads. In China
especialy, increased availability of high-speed data, more generous data plans, and the move towards
larger phones screen sizes helped drive mobile viewing “sharply up”.
In Europe, providing localised content has proved “vital” to Netflix’s success, and for many TV networks
and operators, a strong app is a “vital component of successful viewer retention strategies”.
In addition, some content providers are unbundling themselves from pay TV operators, with App Annie
noting that sports apps such as MLB.com, At Bat, NFL GamePass and BoxNation deliver content directly
to users without third party restriction – a trend that is likely to continue during 2015.