App Annie Index: Apps – LINE Tops the Revenue Rankings

App Annie Index Apps Banner December 2013Seasonal Apps Spread Holiday Cheer

The App Annie Apps Index brings you the top-performing publishers and apps outside of games across both the iOS App Store and Google Play based on market data from App Annie Intelligence.  To find out what’s happening in game apps, please check out our December 2013 Games Index.

LINE Leads in Publisher Revenue

LINE has held top spot in the Google Play publisher revenue rankings in the Apps Index since April 2013. In December, they went one better by taking top spot for publisher revenue in both Google Play and the iOS App Store. This ended a phenomenal run for Pandora, who held the top position in the iOS App Store since April 2013.

‘Twas the Season for Holiday Apps

Seasonal apps made a big impact in the iOS App Store in December. Apple’s 12 Days of Gifts took the top spot by iOS downloads, and helped Apple to the top of the publisher download rankings. By offering free downloads of apps, books, music, and movies, 12 Days of Gifts also made an impact on the rankings of the content that it promoted. However, Apple weren’t the only ones to take advantage of the holiday season, with ElfYourself by OfficeMax capitalizing on a huge gain in downloads to reach the Top 10 apps by iOS App Store revenue excluding games.

Top Publishers by Monthly Downloads Excluding GamesiOS December 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 Apple 1 United States 40
2 Google 1 United States 37
3 Facebook 1 United States 10
4 Tencent 1 China 149
5 Baidu -* China 603
6 Outfit 7 3 Cyprus 72
7 Alibaba Group 1 China 45
8 Microsoft 2 United States 59
9 Apalon 19 Belarus 36
10 Amazon 5 United States 43
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* Rank change from November to December 2013 is approximate due to publisher attribution updates.

In addition to the 12 Days of Gifts app, many of Apple’s suggested apps for new iPhones and iPads also received a boost around Christmas, including Find My iPhone, iBooks, and Podcasts. Amazon also benefited from the holiday shopping season, with their Amazon app making considerable gains in the week after Thanksgiving on both iPhone and iPad.

The October Apps Index noted an influx of iOS customization apps that took advantage of new features in iOS 7. In December, Apalon made the most of these features to make considerable gains and enter the Top 10. Apalon’s growth came mainly from their Wallpapers for iOS 7 by Pimp Your Screen, an app offering wallpapers for Home and Lock screens on iOS devices. Released in late November, the app found almost immediate success in markets such as Russia, and further growth in Japan and other markets after a December update added holiday-themed wallpapers.

Wallpapers for iOS 7 Chart

Wallpapers for iOS 7 by Pimp Your Screen went straight to the top ranks in Russia, and soon followed in markets such as Japan in December.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Downloads Excluding GamesGoogle Play December 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 Facebook - United States 8
2 Google - United States 127
3 Sungy Mobile - China 2200
4 WhatsApp - United States 2
5 Outfit 7 - Cyprus 34
6 Kingsoft Internet Software 1 China 28
7 Microsoft 1 United States 40
8 LINE - Japan 100
9 Twitter - United States 5
10 NAVER - South Korea 1062
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

The top publishers by downloads for the month in Google Play remained largely stable, with only Kingsoft Internet Software able to climb the ranks. Their Clean Master app continued to perform well worldwide as it received a major version update in December that provides users with visualizations and statistics detailing their phone storage use.

Top Publishers by Monthly Revenue Excluding GamesiOS December 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 LINE 1 Japan 99
2 Pandora 1 United States 1
3 Disney 1 United States 417
4 Zoosk 2 United States 1
5 Microsoft - United States 59
6 Apple 3 United States 40
7 Smule - United States 12
8 Toca Boca 12 Sweden 24
9 Time Warner 1 United States 525
10 MagazineCloner 1 United Kingdom 964
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

November’s Games Index noted an increased presence of children’s game publishers. In December, Toca Boca, a publisher of children’s apps, experienced explosive growth to climb into the Top 10 publishers by iOS App Store monthly revenue excluding games. The publisher’s growth was largely driven by Toca Hair Salon 2, which featured as one of the top selling paid iPad downloads in Apple’s Best of 2013 list, Toca Hair Salon Me, in which users include images of themselves as salon customers, and the release of Toca Labs. Despite not being listed in the Games category, the themes of salons and science-is-fun identified in the July Games Index are still evident in these children’s apps. Toca Boca’s CEO Björn Jeffery spoke with App Annie about the publisher’s successful approach to kids apps and how it paid off in December.

December is the best time of year for kids apps with a lot of families gathering for the holidays. We had a great month with the release of Toca Lab, which did exceptionally well. The app encourages kids to experiment and be curious in the world of science. Clearly a fitting theme when playing with your family! Toca Lab, along with all our other digital toys, made for a great December. Our success shows that investing in quality for kids apps still pays off. There’s much more to come in 2014! – Björn Jeffery, CEO of Toca Boca

There was also a notable change at the top of the iOS publisher revenue ranks, with LINE taking the #1 position, which Pandora previously held in the Apps Index since April 2013. LINE’s rise to the top came as they updated their flagship messaging app to make the sticker store easier to use, adding search functionality and sticker categories. The boost for LINE gave them the top position for publishers by revenue outside of games in both the iOS App Store and Google Play in December.

 

Top Publishers by Monthly Revenue Excluding GamesGoogle Play December 2013
  Publisher Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Headquarters Total Apps
(incl. games)
1 LINE - Japan 100
2 Sungy Mobile - China 2200
3 Kakao - South Korea 16
4 Pandora 1 United States 2
5 comiXology 3 United States 2
6 WhatsApp 1 United States 2
7 Voltage 1 Japan 52
8 GREE 4 Japan 121
9 Cocone 1000+* Japan 8
10 MagazineCloner - United Kingdom 627
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* The rank for the publisher Cocone in the November 2013 Apps Index did not include the Mini Me app, as the app was in the Games category back then. I publisher has since shifted this app out of the Games category to the Social category on Google Play. As a result, the rank for Cocone in the December 2013 Apps Index now includes Mini Me. Please see the footnotes at the end of the App Annie Index for more information on app categorization.

 

Comics publisher comiXology continued their rise up the Top 10 Google Play publishers by monthly revenue excluding games that began in October. The publisher celebrated the holidays with their 12 Days of Free Comics promotion, offering a free comic every day from December 9 to 20.

WhatsApp also saw further gains in December as they passed 400 million monthly active users, taking just four months to gain their last 100 million. Recent figures show that WhatsApp is now installed on 41% of Android smartphones, which may drive further revenue gains from the $0.99 subscriptions plans in the future.

Top Apps by Monthly Downloads Excluding GamesiOS December 2013
  App Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 12 Days of Gifts N/A* Apple United States Entertainment
2 YouTube 1 Google United States Photo and Video
3 Facebook 1 Facebook United States Social Networking
4 Facebook Messenger 20 Facebook United States Social Networking
5 Skype 2 Microsoft United States Social Networking
6 ElfYourself by OfficeMax 21 Magic Mirror United States Entertainment
7 Instagram 2 Facebook United States Photo and Video
8 WhatsApp Messenger 3 WhatsApp United States Social Networking
9 Google Search 1 Google United States Reference
10 Snapchat 2 Snapchat United States Photo and Video
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

Apple’s seasonal 12 Days of Gifts app proved a hit last year, and did it again this year, reaching the #1 spot for iOS App Store downloads excluding games in December. The annual promotion provides a giveaway from Apple’s digital stores each day from December 26 to January 6, including songs, apps, books, or films. 12 Days of Gifts featured on the iOS App Store home page in over 150 countries, and the impact of its success can be seen on the downloads ranks of the content that it promoted.

ElfYourself by OfficeMax is another popular seasonal title that repeated its success of last year by returning to the Top 10 apps excluding games by iOS downloads in December. The app allows users to customize dancing elves with images of themselves and their friends.

Another big mover into the Top 10 this month was Facebook Messenger. After the introduction of SMS-like features in November, Facebook gave their app a further upgrade in December, introducing the ability to make free calls to friends with a tap on their profile picture. The messaging app also featured on the iOS App Store home page in over 85 countries at the start of December, as Facebook Messenger grabbed the top rank in markets such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

07 - Facebook Messenger ChartFacebook Messenger hit the top ranks in the United States and United Kingdom in early December.

 

Facebook’s efforts to heat up the messaging app wars didn’t stop there though, as they also introduced Instagram Direct. This major update to the Instagram app allows private photo and video messaging between users and puts it in more direct competition with popular image-based messaging apps. The new features appear popular in their first month, with Instagram moving up the Top 10 ranks.

Top Apps by Monthly Downloads Excluding GamesGoogle Play December 2013
  App Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 Facebook - Facebook United States Social
2 WhatsApp Messenger - WhatsApp United States Communication
3 Facebook Messenger 1 Facebook United States Communication
4 Skype 1 Microsoft United States Communication
5 Instagram 2 Facebook United States Social
6 Clean Master 1 Kingsoft Internet
Software
China Tools
7 LINE 1 LINE Japan Communication
8 Twitter - Twitter United States Social
9 Viber - Viber Media Cyprus Communication
10 AntiVirus Security 2 AVG Czech Republic Communication
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

 

Messaging apps also remained popular on Google Play, with gains for both Facebook Messenger and Skype giving messaging apps three of the top four positions for Google Play downloads in December. Skype featured on the Google Play home page in several countries throughout December, notably within the Starter Kit section in major markets such as the United States.

AVG’s AntiVirus Security also moved into the Top 10 for Google Play downloads in December. Its entrance into the Top 10 capped a strong year for AVG and AntiVirus Security, having surpassed 100 million lifetime downloads in November. Although remaining significantly smaller than the general version, AntiVirus Security designed specifically for Android tablets received a noticeable increase in download rank on Christmas day, particularly in the United Kingdom.

Top Apps by Monthly Revenue Excluding GamesiOS December 2013
  App Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 Pandora Radio - Pandora United States Music
2 LINE - LINE Japan Social Networking
3 Zoosk - Zoosk United States Social Networking
4 Skype - Microsoft United States Social Networking
5 LINE PLAY - LINE Japan Social Networking
6 Badoo - Badoo United Kingdom Social Networking
7 Comics 1 comiXology United States Books
8 Grindr 1 Grindr United States Social Networking
9 ElfYourself by OfficeMax 36 Magic Mirror United States Entertainment
10 NYTimes - NY Times United States News
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

While most apps remained stable in the Top 10 by iOS App Store revenue in December, ElfYourself by OfficeMax capitalized on its seasonal popularity and joined the Top 10. The app monetized its significant download gains by offering additional dances for the customized elf characters as in-app purchases.

2013-12 Apps IndexElfYourself by OfficeMax made the most of the holidays, converting seasonal fun into revenue success.

 

Top Apps by Monthly Revenue Excluding GamesGoogle Play December 2013
  App Rank Change
vs. Nov 2013
Publisher Headquarters Category
1 LINE - LINE Japan Communication
2 LINE PLAY - LINE Japan Social
3 KakaoTalk - Kakao South Korea Communication
4 Pandora Radio 1 Pandora United States Music & Audio
5 LINE Manga 1 LINE Japan Comics
6 LINE Fortune-telling 2 LINE Japan Entertainment
7 WhatsApp Messenger - WhatsApp United States Communication
8 GREE 4 GREE Japan Social
9 Comics - comiXology United States Comics
10 Mini Me N/A* Cocone Japan Social
SOURCE: App Annie Index ™

* Previously, the Mini Me app was in the Games category. As a result, it did not have any rank among apps excluding games in November 2013. The publisher has since shifted this app to the Social category on Google Play. Accordingly, this app is now being reported in the Apps Index. Please see the footnotes at the end of the App Annie Index for more information on app categorization.

LINE completed a strong month with 4 of the Top 10 apps by revenue excluding games in Google Play in December. While its messaging app continued to hold the top spot, both LINE Manga and LINE Fortune-telling made gains in December after continuing their strong performance in Japan. With Cocone’s avatar app Mini Me joining the Top 10, publishers from Japan held a strong grip on the top ranked apps for Google Play revenue.

For those of you who also are looking for an update on top apps in gaming, please check out our December 2013 Games Index.

Notes:

  • The publisher and app rankings reported in the App Annie Index are based on the download and revenue estimates available through App Annie Intelligence.  The daily rank history charts and the home page feature app data are available to all users through App Annie’s app tracker solution, Store Stats.
  • While the Games Index covers games, the Apps Index provides app tracking on everything but games.  Note that the Top Publishers rankings in the Games Index are based solely on the publishers’ games downloads and revenue, while the Top Publishers rankings in the Apps Index are based on the publishers’ downloads and revenue from apps excluding games.
  • Through August 2013, publisher rankings in the App Annie Games Index and Apps Index were based on apps that ranked in the Top 1,000.  Effective with September data, publisher rankings are based on publishers’ full sets of apps.
  • Through September 2013, similar versions of the same app with different names (e.g., NYTimes and NYTimes for iPad) were ranked separately. Effective with October data, similar versions of the same app with different names will be unified (e.g., NYTimes and NYTimes for iPad are now aggregated and ranked as a single NYTimes unified app).
  • In the first month in which an app becomes unified, its rank change in the Index will compare the unified app that month vs. its highest-ranking individual app in the month prior.  As a result, rank changes for newly unified apps may overstate ranking increases from November to December 2013.
  • In the iOS App Store, an app can be categorized under a Primary Category as well as an optional Secondary Category.  If an app has a Primary Category of Entertainment and a Secondary Category of Games, it is a candidate to be included in this Apps Index.  If the app’s Primary Category is Games and its Secondary Category is Entertainment, then it will not be included in this Apps Index; it is a candidate for the Games Index.
  • Note that the ranking approach used in the App Annie Index differs from that used in the iOS App Store.  In the latter, app rankings for a given category will include all apps whose Primary Category or Secondary Category matches that given category.  So an app can appear in the rankings for more than one category within the iOS App Store or in App Annie Store Stats rankings.
  • In Google Play, an app can be categorized under only one category, so there is no double-categorization.
  • Occasionally, a publisher may decide to shift an existing app from one category to another category.  In these cases, the App Annie Index will rank that app based on how it is categorized in the subsequent month.  Given that the App Annie Index now has a Games report and an Apps report, the scenario where an app’s recategorization could shift it from one Index to another is if its category changes from the Games category to a category other than Games or vice versa.
  • In the App Annie Index, all apps and publishers are reported under their parent publishers, where available; for example, the Instagram app is reported under its parent publisher Facebook, rather than its direct publisher Instagram. Note that if you view the Facebook parent publisher page on Store Stats, you will see the publishers under the parent publisher Facebook, including Instagram. The Instagram app will be listed under the Instagram publisher page.
  • App Annie Index revenue rankings are based on revenue that the iOS App Store and Google Play earned from paid downloads and in-app purchases.  They do not include revenue earned from in-app advertising.
  • Any non-App Annie trademarks or images used in this report are the property of their respective owners.  App Annie claims no rights in those trademarks.

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  • Nicholas John Martin

    Where can I find Newsstand specific details such as total number of magazines and for each category in the world and for each country?

    • Christopher Bral

      We don’t currently offer that level of analysis, but I’ll forward this idea along to our product team!

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