Canalys: App store downloads surge 11% in Q1, revenues reach $2.2B

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Downloads from the four leading application storefronts--Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) World and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone Store--climbed to a total of 13.4 billion worldwide during the first quarter of 2013, an 11 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2012, research firm Canalys reports. Revenues from premium downloads, in-app purchases and content subscriptions grew 9 percent quarter-over-quarter to $2.2 billion before revenue sharing is taken into account.

Canalys credits the app ecosystem's continued growth in part to the emerging market segment, citing growing bases of smart device users in nations like South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia. At the same time, mature mobile markets remain robust: In North America, app download volumes increased 6 percent and revenues jumped 8 percent during the first quarter, while Western Europe posted 10 percent download growth and 8 percent revenue growth compared to the previous quarter.

Canalys adds that Apple's App Store represented the largest indexed proportion of revenue between the four stores, at around 74 percent. Google Play generated around 51 percent of collective downloads, followed closely by Apple.

"BlackBerry World and the Windows Phone Store remain distant challengers today, though they still should not be ignored," Canalys Senior Analyst Tim Shepherd said. "Each of these four stores represents a different market proposition for developers and remains the primary outlet to reach users on the platforms they serve. BlackBerry and Microsoft particularly need to continue to proactively work to attract fresh, innovative content and services to their respective catalogs and fill gaps in their inventories. But they also need to increase device sales around BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8 to increase the addressable market opportunities on offer to developers."

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