Publication: 2013 Year in Review

2013 was a big year for mobile. At the end of the year, Distimo takes a look back at the developments that mattered most in the mobile app stores during 2013.
How did the app stores develop over the last year? Which markets generated the most revenue and how much are these markets growing? Which are the most downloaded apps globally and who are the most successful publishers of 2013?
Even though the year is not completely over yet, major developments and top performances in the main app stores were identified and we answer the questions above. Furthermore, we analyze the past year to reveal global app trends of 2013 in the different markets and we will share more insights on the revenue development of different business models.

Free apps make the most revenue

With increasing revenues in the mobile app markets, a look at the revenue shares of the different business models provides interesting insights about the app stores:

Apple App Store – globally aggregated data over 2013


The Freemium Business Model – free apps with in-app purchases – makes up the largest revenue share in the Apple App Store. Our analysis showed that this revenue share even increased over the year. While the Freemium revenue share was at 77 percent in January, it grew to 92 percent in November based on globally aggregated data for the Apple App Store. The other business models, paid apps without in-app purchases and paid apps with in-app purchases, made each only 4 percent of the revenue in November 2013.

In the publication, the same analysis is available for Google Play and in addition, we take a deeper look into key markets and success of in-app features among the top 10 categories.

Top Global Apps – 2013

The tables below present the top apps in the grossing category for the Apple App Store and Google Play based on globally aggregated data between January and November 2013.

Apple App Store

The long-lasting battle between the two top apps, Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga, was won by Supercell, leading slightly ahead in the grossing charts of 2013. With the iOS version, Clash of Clans was especially in the Asian markets: Japan, China, and South Korea, ahead of Candy Crush Saga, which is likely a result of a well thought-through localization strategy.

The global top grossing charts of 2013, support the success of the Freemium Business Model. Out of the top 10 grossing apps, as presented in our full publication, Minecraft – Pocket Edition by Mojang is the only paid app among free apps with in-app purchases.

Top Global Apps 2013, Grossing – Apple App Store Publisher
1. Clash of Clans Supercell
2. Candy Crush Saga Limited
3. Hay Day Supercell
4. Puzzle & Dragons GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc.
5. The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth Kabam

Google Play

The same trend holds true for Google Play. All top 10 grossing apps are also successful represents of the Freemium Business Model. took the number one position in the Google Play charts with Candy Crush Saga, also proving success in Asian markets. After the United States, Japan was the most revenue generating country for Candy Crush Saga on Google Play during 2013. This accomplishment makes not only a successful cross-cultural, but also a successful cross-store publisher, showing that next to the Apple App Store, also Google Play has substantial monetizing potential.

Another notable fact for Google Play is that also a few newer apps gained positions in the top 10 grossing charts, such as 윈드러너 for Kakao, 쿠키런 for Kakao, LINE Pokopang, and LINE WIND runner, which were all released in 2013. This is in contrast to the Apple App Store, where all top 10 grossing apps were released prior to 2013.

Top Global Apps 2013, Grossing – Google Play Publisher
1. Candy Crush Saga
2. パズル&ドラゴンズ(Puzzle & Dragons) GungHoOnline
3. LINE: Free Calls & Messages LINE Corporation
4. 윈드러너 for Kakao WeMade Entertainment
5. LINE POP LINE Corporation

For more details on the top performing apps, download the full publication, including complete free, paid, and grossing top 10 charts for top apps in the Apple App Store, Google Play, and in the Amazon Appstore.

There is more….

If you are curious on more details about the top app charts for 2013, the globally top performing publishers of the Apple App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore, and further facts and figures, download our free publication: 2013 Year in Review.
We also have a Japanese and a Korean version available. All included image files are available here for your reference.



Join us in the new year for our webinar, where we will review the top performing apps of 2013 and the major trends in the Apple App Store, Google Play, as well as the Amazon Appstore. We will provide additional data to this publication and show the opportunities of Distimo AppIQ in terms of reporting.
Register for our webinar on Tuesday, January 7th 2014 at 6:00 PM (CET)/ 09:00 AM (PST).
Happy Holidays!

Christel Schoger