Top Global Apps – March 2013

Our leaderboards are a great resource for anyone interested in mobile apps globally. These leaderboards list the most popular free, paid and grossing applications daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly per country and per category for the Apple App Store for iPhone, the Apple App Store for iPad and Google Play. Combining the monthly leaderboards across all countries and enriching with Distimo AppIQ data allows us to analyze the most successful apps worldwide. This blog post will cover March 2013, and we will be posting similar blog posts every month.

Top Free Applications

In terms of free downloads worldwide, Candy Crush Saga was the most downloaded app globally in the Apple App Store, while Facebook was the most popular application in Google Play during March. Comparing both stores, one notices that Google Play’s top 5 is dominated by communication/social networking apps and includes only one game: Temple Run 2 (5). On the contrary, three out of five apps in the top 5 free applications for Apple App Store were games: Candy Crush Saga (1), 4 Pics 1 Word (3) and Temple Run 2 (4). Striking is the presence of two Google apps in the top 5 for the Apple App Store, YouTube (2) and Google Maps (5), which made Google one of the top publishers in the Apple App Store.

Top Paid Applications

Four out of five applications were games in Apple’s top 5, based on most paid downloads. Temple Run: Oz was the game that was downloaded most frequently across all countries in this store. However, WhatsApp Messenger defeated all games and took the leading position as most downloaded paid application during March 2013. With SwiftKey Keyboard as leader, paid utility applications were more popular than games in Google Play. Only Minecraft – Pocket Edition, which was also ranked in the top 5 for the Apple App Store, made it in the top 5 in terms of paid downloads in Google Play.

Most Revenue Generating Applications

Supercell was still one of the most successful developers in the Apple App Store in March 2013. With only two apps in this store, Clash of Clans (1) and Hay Day (3), and both in the top global top 5, players are still enjoying Supercell’s games. Minecraft – Pocket Edition is the odd one in the top 5 in terms of generated revenue in the Apple App Store. This app has no In-App purchases and gains only revenue with their premium app. All other apps in this top 5 use the freemium business model. For more insights in successful business models, you may be interested to read our publication on ‘monetizing your user base‘.

While almost all apps in the provided charts gathered most downloads in the United States, the apps in the top 5 based on revenue for Google Play included mainly apps that were localized in Asia and hence generating most revenue form these countries instead of the US. Especially games that are related to Kakao have generated a lot of revenue in Korea, which resulted in two top five positions in Google Play, 윈드러너 for Kakao (2) and 다함께 차차차 for Kakao (3). Candy Crush Saga (4) is the only game in this top five that generates most revenue from the US, Australia and large European countries.

… And the Winner is?

Taken everything into account, there is no doubt about the top revenue generating application in March 2013: Puzzle & Dragons! This application has been holding the number one position in the top grossing chart in the Apple App Store in Japan for almost a year now. In Google Play, Puzzle & Dragons was able to remain number one in the Top Overall grossing for 180 days in a row in Japan. No application has ever been this popular and has gained so much revenue across the two largest platforms!

Japanese borders do not limit the success of Puzzle & Dragons though. GungHo Online Entertainment, the publisher of Puzzle & Dragons, is exporting the success of its game to other countries such as Korea, UK and the US. They are doing this with a great focus on localization, which is also reflected in the title. For example, Puzzle & Dragons is named 퍼즐앤드래곤 in Korea and Puzzle & Dragons (English) in the US. This strategy is working for Korea, however, American and British consumers are not falling for this strategy yet.


All data is available in Distimo AppIQ.

Tiuri van Agten