App Annie: Google Play revenue doubles quarter-over-quarter, revenue growth led by Japan and South Korea

Both of the top app stores — Apple App Store and Google Play — showed high growth in app revenue from Q3 2012 to Q4 2012, App Annie reports. Google Play, in particular, doubled app revenue from Q3 to Q4 along with a higher growth rate than the Apple App Store. Despite Google Play’s revenue doubling quarter-over-quarter, the Apple App Store gained more in absolute revenue, considering its larger revenue base. Apple is far and away the leader in app revenue, earning more than three-and-a-half times more revenue than Google Play in December 2012.

According to the company’s January 2013 App Annie Index, Apple App Store revenue grew by around one-fifth from Q3 to Q4, increasing revenues by 35 percent from November 2012 to December. In comparison, the Apple App Store’s revenue increased by 25 percent from November 2011 to December 2011. App Annie attributed users receiving new iPhones and iPads as gifts for the holidays that led to a spike in app downloads, and therefore, app revenue.

The top five most lucrative countries for iOS developers remained the same from Q3 to Q4. Starting from first to fifth is the U.S., Japan, the U.K., Australia and Canada. For the quarter, those five countries accounted for more than 60 percent of the Apple App Store’s revenue. China, in particular, is quickly moving up the top ranking countries by revenue on the Apple App Store list, changing from No. 8 spot to the No. 7 spot in October 2012, and from the No. 7 spot to the No. 6 spot as of December. It should come as no surprise as even CEO Tim Cook said in Apple’s Q4 2012 earnings call last week that China is its second largest region. The Cupertino, Calif.-based corporation has even been rumored to be developing a cheaper iPhone that would be aimed at emerging markets like China.

Japan and South Korea led the way for Google’s app store to double its revenue from Q3 to Q4, accounting for nearly half of Google Play’s app revenue in Q4. The three most lucrative countries for Google Play developers, in order from first to third, were Japan, the U.S. and South Korea. Coincidentally, all three of the same countries had the highest percentage of app money spent on games. In December 2012, 76 percent of app revenue came from games among U.S. users. In Japan, it was 88 percent and in South Korea it was 95 percent.

After racking up 2 million downloads on Christmas Day, mobile-social game developer Storm8 was the only notable publisher to crack the iOS top publishers by monthly downloads chart, moving from the No. 14 spot in November 2012 to the No. 9 spot in December 2012.

On the iOS top publishers by monthly revenue chart, Electronic Arts reclaimed the No. 1 spot in December, with strong performance from its free-to-play title The Simpsons: Tapped Out. Japanese game company GungHo Online was the biggest mover, leaping six spots to the No. 5 spot. Earlier this week, we reported that GungHo’s Puzzle & Dragons is seeing massive success in Japan, and now the company is more valuable than Zynga. For Android, nine of the top 10 publishes by monthly revenue on Google Play were either Japanese or South Korean, French game company Gameloft was the lone Western publisher.

South Korean Naver Corp., developer of the messaging app Line, was the notable publisher on all four top publisher charts for iOS and Google Play by downloads and revenue. Line recently surpassed the 100 million user mark in less than 19 months. Line was also the top grossing non-game app worldwide for both iOS and Android, according to App Annie.

On App Annie’s top iOS game apps by monthly revenue chart,’s Candy Crush Saga catapulted 28 spots from November to December, landing at the No. 5 spot.