Over the past few months, I've been researching the kinds of apps that get featured on the iTunes App Store home page for different countries around the world. Here are my initial findings.
The data used to generate this report runs from the 7th February 2013 to the 7th June 2013. The App Store is updated every Thursday with a new set of app features; I've been grabbing the home page of the Store (as it appears in the 155 different countries with an App Store) each week.
Some countries have additional home-page-style pages for key sub-genres, such as Games and Education. However, I've only been grabbing and processing those apps that get featured on the App Store home page itself, so that I can make comparisons across all of the App Stores in the world.
The iTunes App Store is available in 155 different countries, but there are actually only 25 unique stores. (See my blog post on the subject to find out which countries are covered by each of the 25 stores.) Where the same store is used for multiple countries, I've used one representative country in the reports below. (I've used the UK version of the shared United Kingdom and Ireland store, for example.)
In this article, you'll spot certain bits of text highlighted in yellow. Clicking or tapping on these will display extra information about the methodology I've used in the reports. You'll also see bits of text highlighted in blue. These automatically change the relevant graph to show the data referred to by the highlighted text.
…like this one.
Important note: I've only been looking at the kinds of apps that get featured on the store. This isn't an assessment of how many copies of each app are sold, or how much money apps make, or how many apps there are on the store. It's just about the apps that are editorially selected for feature on the Store's home page by the App Store editorial team.
One of the most notable things about the Store is just how many games get featured. Only 16.8% of the apps on the Store are games, and yet they make up about half of the apps featured on App Store home pages worldwide.
This value of 16.8% is based on the category totals reported by 148Apps.biz as of 3 June 2013.
The graph below shows the percentage of unique app features that are / are not games , compared against the percentage of apps on the Store that are / are not games . You can view the results for different stores and different device types using the two drop-down menus in the graph's title.
The percentage used for comparison is that 16.8% value again.
The highest percentage overall is in the Republic of Korea, where a whopping 64.4% of features on iPhone are for games. The lowest is the Austria / Germany Store, with only 36.3% on iPhone, although that's still more than double the proportion of apps on the store overall. One thing's for sure - games are special.
Next, let's look at the distribution of featured apps by genre outside of games. The bars below show the percentage of unique app features in each genre, once games have been removed. Features for free apps are shown in green , and features for paid apps are shown in red .
In this context, an 'unique app feature' is when an app is featured on the home page of an App Store that it wasn't featured on last week. If it is featured, then not featured, then featured again, this would count as two unique features.
I've taken games out of the mix for this chart, because (as mentioned above) they account for about 50% of all featured apps. I think it's more useful to see the distribution of all other kinds of apps, without games skewing the numbers. Note also that Newsstand apps appear under their primary category, rather than under a Newsstand category.
'Free' here means as of when the app was featured.
There's quite a bit of variance in the charts. The Austria / Germany store has a particular skew towards lifestyle apps on iPhone, most of which are free. Brazil is big on music, and the Republic of Korea has a huge focus on iPad education apps - something also seen in Japan and China . News and Lifestyle apps are featured regularly, and most of those featured are free (see Switzerland for a particular example).
The previous chart showed the number of app features per genre. However, this distribution could be due in part to the App Store containing a particularly high number of apps in certain genres, rather than a bias towards a particular country featuring a particular genre unusually often.
The next chart shows how the proportion of app features per genre varies from the overall proportion of apps on the store. Effectively, this chart shows those Stores where a genre is featured more often (or less often) than the number of apps in that category would lead you to expect.
This is again based on the statistics published by 148Apps (as of 3 June 2013), which show the number of apps per category. I don't know how those stats break down between iPad and iPhone, however, so I've merged the two devices together for the purposes of this chart.
I originally based this chart on the total number of active apps in each category, as taken from the 148Apps category list. However, I subsequently decided that this might not be representative of the Store as it looks in 2013. So, I changed the numbers to be relative to the number of new apps submitted to each category during the time period I was studying. If 10% of the new apps submitted worldwide are lifestyle apps, say, but only 5% of the apps featured in a country are from that genre, then that country would score -5% on the chart below.
Business apps fare poorly worldwide, at least relative to how many have been submitted to the Store. Brazil's Music and Productivity features are higher than would be expected; the same can be said for the Spanish-language store. The Republic of Korea's focus on education apps is notable as before, and there's a slight trend towards Finance apps in West Asia. And the Photo & Video category is featured more than average in all countries, most notably in East Asia.
All games apps fall into one of 19 sub-categories. This next chart shows the proportion of featured apps in each games sub-category as they appear in each store. Again, free apps are in green , and paid apps are in red .
Unfortunately, I don't know how many apps there are overall on the Store for each of the games sub-categories. It may be that the percentages shown below are representative of the total set of game apps available for feature; or it may be that individual Stores feature some sub-categories disproportionately more than others. Sadly, I don't have the data to be able to compare.
There's a special Store, shared by South Africa, Qatar and Costa Rica, which doesn't have a Games category at all for legal reasons. This store is in the other results above, but has been removed for this graph.
There's not much variance from country to country within the games sub-genres, at least not when compared to the main genres above. Action is the most featured overall, with Adventure, Arcade and Puzzle the next most commonly featured in all territories.