Apple #1 in Mobile Apps with 82.7% of Revenue

Apple maintained its dominance of the global mobile app market in 2010, according to research firm iSuppli, raking 82.7% of all revenues. While one could be excused for assuming that Google’s Android Market was the #2 market for mobile app sales, iSuppli ranked it as #4 (4.7% of revenues), behind BlackBerry App World (7.7%) and the now superfluous Nokia Ovi Store (4.9%).

While Apple’s market share is crushingly dominant, the company did lose share in 2010. In 2009, Apple had 92.8% of a much smaller market. The App Store grew 131.9% during 2010, according to iSuppli, but the market as a whole grew 160.2%, which means that Apple’s competitors made tiny inroads into that dominance.

BlackBerry App World, for instance, grew 360.3%, Nokia’s Ovi Store grew 719.4%, and Android Market grew by 861.5%. Of course, in the immortal words of Gandalf, twice nothing is still nothing, as demonstrated in the table below.

iSuppli Chart

Source: IHS Screen Digest February 2011

“In 2010, competitors managed to close the gap with Apple’s iPhone in terms of providing smart phone products with compelling user interfaces,” Jack Kent, analyst, mobile media, for IHS, iSuplli’s new parent company. “However, in terms of mobile application stores, Apple remains far ahead of the competition, with the other stores so far unable to replicate Apple’s success in generating revenue from users. Apple, in contrast, has been able to maintain advantage by leveraging its tightly controlled ecosystem—combining compelling hardware and content with the capability to offer consumers a trusted, integrated and simple billing service via iTunes.”

iSuppli expects mobile app revenue to increase another 81.5% in 2011 to hit US$3.9 billion. The company also expects the “freemium” pricing model to gain in popularity where developers release free apps and then charge for some premium features.

“As application stores become more and more crowded, with hundreds of thousands of apps available on the leading stores, developers increasingly are opting to release their content for free. They do this in the hope that they can monetize their apps by offering additional content or functionality via in-app purchases and advertising,” Mr. Kent said.