I’ve been doing some research into the kinds of apps that tend to get Apple promotion on the App Store. This research is still a work in progress, so I thought it might be useful to share an initial finding about the App Stores themselves.
It turns out that there are actually very few App Stores in the world. You can buy apps in 155 countries, but there are only 25 separate stores. Many countries share their App Store with several other countries, and show exactly the same curated selection of featured apps – with localised names and metadata where available – as those other countries. In practice, this is almost certainly necessary to keep the weekly task of content curation feasible for Apple.
As of 21 February 2013, there are fourteen countries with their own dedicated App Store:
- Republic of Korea
- United States
Four pairs of countries share a store with each other:
- United Kingdom and Ireland
- Austria and Germany
- Australia and New Zealand
- Belgium and Luxembourg
Three small groups of countries each share a store:
- Qatar, South Africa and Costa Rica
- Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden
- Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia and UAE
Two large groups of countries each share a broadly regional store:
- Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia
- Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Lao, People’s Democratic Republic, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam
Many Spanish-language countries share a single store:
- Spain, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela
…and everyone else is covered by a single generic worldwide store:
Albania, Belarus, Croatia, Iceland, Macedonia, Moldova, Ukraine, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Congo, Republic of the, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Bhutan, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia, Federated States of, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and Uruguay
Note that shared stores can still vary slightly from country to country, based on which countries an app is allowed to be sold in. For example: the Australia & New Zealand store currently has a ‘10 Apps to Complete Summer’ feature, but ‘Cricket LIVE Australia’ is only featured in this section when the store is viewed by Australians, as it is not available for sale in New Zealand. (This leads to the slightly awkward fact that this ‘10 Apps’ feature only shows nine apps in New Zealand.)
It’s not immediately clear why Qatar, South Africa and Costa Rica share a store. The other geographic groupings make sense, and are presumably tied to Apple’s regional store representatives on the ground in those areas. The Spanish-language grouping is particularly interesting, especially given its geographical spread – no other language has a common store, which says much about the spread of Spanish as an international language.
I’m continuing my research, focussing particularly on the kinds of apps that get featured on these stores. I’ll report back once I know more.
UPDATE: Graham Lee has spotted that the Qatar, South Africa and Costa Rica store is missing its Games category. If you search the Qatar store for Angry Birds, you get a bunch of Angry Birds reference apps, but not the game itself. Perhaps the sale of games is for some reason restricted in these three countries, and this is why they are grouped together?
If you’ve found this research useful, you can find me at @daveaddey on Twitter, where I post regularly about all things app-related.