The Canadian app market grew 77% in 2013, still dominated by iOS

With the emerging explosion of smartphone market share in Canada, it’s no surprise that app revenue from the top two platforms, iOS and Android, continues to grow precipitously.

According to a year-end roundup report from popular analytics firm, Distimo, the Canadian app market grew 77% in 2013 over last year. While the number was slightly below the US, which grew 81%, and way behind the world’s fastest-growing country, South Korea, which increased 759%, the number is ahead of other mature markets, Australia and the UK.

Revenue distribution in Canada is still largely dominated by iOS — Distimo separates iPhone and iPad into distinctive revenue sources — with over 75% of total developer earnings, but Google’s Android Play Store grew worldwide from 30% of revenue to 37%.

As has been the trend for the past couple of years, freemium dominated the app ecosystem this year: free apps with in-app purchases comprised 92% of worldwide iOS revenue, while the same type made up a staggering 98% of purchases on Google Play. This is an increase of 15% and 9% respectively, indicating that though Google Play adopted the freemium model earlier, iOS developers have found it to be the most profitable form of distribution.

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The freemium category is dominated by games, with over 90% of revenue derived from in-app purchases; navigation and productivity apps, on the other hand, continue to demand payment up-front, 55% and 70% respectively.

King’s Candy Crush Saga was the top free app in the Apple App Store in 2013, and the fifth most popular in the Google Play Store; it was, however, the second highest grossing and top grossing app, respectively, as gamers dropped huge amounts of cash for hints and access to new levels.

In fact, the top ten grossing apps on the App Store were games: Clash of Clans, Candy Crush, Hay Day and The Simpsons: Tapped Out were among the global leaders. Only one title, Minecraft – Pocket Edition, was a paid app.

On the Android side, all the top grossing apps, aside from Candy Crush, were of Korean or Japanese origin, and nearly all of them were associated with either Japan’s LINE or Korea’s Kakao messaging platforms. Makes you believe in Kik’s HTML 5-based Cards strategy a little bit, doesn’t it?

The takeaway from these metrics is this: the more things change, the more they stay the same. Freemium is here to stay, despite our reservations, and Google Play continues to play second fiddle to the App Store, though its numbers are certainly growing.

Until next year!