Top 1% of app publishers demand 80% of downloads and $20.5 billion in revenue

Anne Freier | November 25, 2019

App Business

Of the 29.6 billion app downloads in Q3 2019, the top 1% of app publishers were responsible for 80% of downloads, according to new data from SensorTower.

It’s a grim picture for other app developers – meaning that just 6 billion downloads or 20% are shared among 99% of app makers.

App stores are also becoming more saturated, with 3.4 million apps available on App Store and Google Play in 2018 – a rise of 65% from 2014.

As a consequence, apps are also being downloaded fewer times.

The data found that there were around 792,000 publishers on both app stores during the third quarter of 2019. Just under 8,000 of them generated 23.6 billion unique installs.

Within the gaming sector, the top 1,080 publishers are accountable for 9.1 billion downloads of a total 11.1 billion (82%) of game downloads. That averages up to 8.4 million installs per publishers.

The remainder (2 billion) are shared among 106,920 publishers at 18,000 downloads each.

When it comes to app revenue, the top 1% generated $20.5 billion whilst the remaining publishers generated $1.5 billion or $9,900 per publisher per year.

The disparity is even greater when looking at game revenues, where 445 publishers are earning $15.5 billion combined and the other 44,029 publishers average $18,100 each a year.

The highest earners for game apps were Tencent ($2 billion) and NetEase ($743 million) as well as Bandai Namco ($503 million).

As the number of apps across stores increases, publishers will need to boost their discovery strategies by utilising both paid and organic marketing tools.

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