Apple Still Leading the Apps Race, But The Pack is Chasing Hard

Distimo has released its latest report on the mobile application market, entitled 2010 State of Apps. The report covers the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone, BlackBerry App World, Android Market, Nokia Ovi Store, Palm App Catalog, Windows Marketplace for Mobile (6.x), and Windows Phone 7 Marketplace for the year 2010.

The report finds that Apple grew most during 2010 in terms of the absolute number of apps, but the runners-up show more growth in percentage terms. The Apple App Store for iPhone doubled the total number of apps during the past year to almost 300,000, while the total number of applications available for Android Market, at around 130,000, is six times the number of applications available one year ago. BlackBerry App World and Nokia Ovi Store showed triple digit growth in the last year as well, to nearly 18,000 apps and 25,000 apps, respectively.

The report notes also that the high download volumes of free applications appear to be attracting developers to switch to monetization methods other than paid. The top 300 free apps generated, on average, over 3m downloads each day during December 2010, while only 350,000 paid apps are downloaded daily. However, paid downloads increased by almost 30 per cent more than free downloads in the top 300 when comparing the download figures for December 2010 to those of June 2010.

Comparing June data to that of December also reveals that the share of revenue generated by in-app purchases from the highest grossing free apps more than doubled for both the iPhone and iPad. At the same time, the share of revenue generated by in-app purchases from free apps is much smaller on iPad (15 per cent) compared to the iPhone (34 per cent).

Distimo adds that it is important to note that while the proportion of free apps grew, the average price of the apps also declined. A decline in price can be observed in the 100 most popular apps in the Apple App Store for iPhone, BlackBerry App World, Android Market and Nokia Ovi Store. 

The report also notes a trend in the Apple App Store for iPhone towards more business-oriented apps, indicating that increasingly, more consumers see the iPhone as a productivity tool. Despite its business reputation, BlackBerry App World attracts more entertainment-focused applications. Android Market and the Ovi Store show a more balanced category growth.

The Angry Birds series is the most popular game, with a total of six appearances in the top lists of all stores. Facebook is the most popular non-game app, also notching up six appearances.

You can download the full report for free here.