Why Geographic Research Matters When Launching Your iOS App

Launching a brand new app involves strategizing and careful decision-making. Store Intelligence data is a powerful ally in ensuring a successful launch. We’ve already investigated which categories generate the most total revenue overall.

Today, we’ll take our study a step further to see how much money app users around the world are willing to spend, and what types of apps they’re likely to purchase. If you’re planning to do a soft launch internationally, this is data you’ll definitely need.

Global Downloads and Revenue in 2015

Before looking at individual markets and their tendencies, here’s an overview of which countries have been topping the charts this year.

The data we used for this iOS-specific study ranges from January 2015 through the end of May. Also, it’s important to note that these revenue figures include both initial purchase price and revenue from in-app purchases.*

Global Share of Revenue

Global Share of Revenue

Though the U.S. is still on top of the bunch for greatest share of total iOS revenue, China has leapt ahead in terms of iOS downloads.

Looking at the top five countries appearing in each of these graphs, we compiled our list of six markets to investigate further.

Global Share of Downloads

Japan’s numbers may be far behind the front-runners in our first two graphs, but we’ve discovered that Japan is generating the most revenue per download so far this year.

Japan

Since downloads in Japan demonstrate so much value, we wanted to know exactly where these downloads are coming from.

Top Categories in Japan

Revenue for Top Categories in Japan

Entertainment apps in Japan have the most downloads, but Games are generating, by far, the most revenue per download. To zoom in even closer, we’ve identified that Role Playing is the best-performing subcategory.**

Australia, United States, & Great Britain

Here are our next three contenders, in terms of dollars for downloads.

Australian Top Categories

Australian Top Gaming Subcategories

United States Top Categories

United States Top Gaming Subcategories

British Top Categories

British Top Gaming Subcategories

Again, Games generated the most revenue per download across the board. Notice that the top gaming subcategory in all three countries pulled in around $2 per download. (The top subcategory in Japan generates nearly $12 per download.)

For Australia and Great Britain, subcategory distribution is largely consistent, with Family apps demonstrating the highest revenue per download. In the United States, this category is Puzzles.

Russia and China

Russia and China are the final countries we investigated from our top five global leaders in share of downloads or share of revenue.

Briefly, app users in these markets tended to spend the most money in the Games category. But the average spend in both China and Russia is less than $0.60 per download.

Conclusion

App users in Japan are currently much more likely to spend money on iOS apps than the other major countries in the App Store. Particularly in the gaming industry, lifetime value for a download in Japan is the highest.

Beyond this very specific takeaway, it’s easy to see how global market research can have a big impact on launching a new app. Knowing how much money users are likely to spend, per category, in your target market lends a crucial competitive advantage.

Additional Notes on the Data:

*We included IAPs in order to fully demonstrate the lifetime value generated per download, which provides even greater insight into how much people are willing to spend on their apps.

**Because apps can be in multiple app categories, total share for categories may be larger than 100%. Also, because games can be in more than one subcategory, total share in the subcategory graphs may be larger than 100%.