Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Google Play surges, but Apple's App Store is still No. 1

Google's app store outpaced the sales growth of the App Store over the past several months, but Apple still is the top revenue grabber, says mobile analytics firm Distimo.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Google Play is on a growth spurt, but Apple is still tops in app sales.

Over the past four months, Google's app store saw its daily sales jump by 43 percent across the 20 countries measured by analytics provider Distimo in a report out today.

At the same time, sales growth for Apple's App Store rose just by 21 percent on a daily basis. That's slowed considerably since January, when the App Store's daily sales growth was 51 percent.

As Distimo points out, however, the daily revenue values in the App Store were already much higher than those at Google Play, leaving Apple with less room to grow.

On an average day in November, the sales in the App Store surpassed $15 million, according to the report, while those for Google Play were just under $3.5 million across the 20 countries measured.

The U.S. was the largest market for overall app sales in 2012, followed by Japan, the U.K., and Australia. Looking just at Google Play, the U.S. and Japan were neck and neck, followed by Korea.

The large number of apps available at both the App Store and Google Play made it more difficult for users to discover new apps, which in turn hurt developers looking to become successful, Distimo said.

But some apps managed to attract users at a record pace.

Draw Something picked up 1 million users in nine days. Line Pop, a game from Asian publisher Naver, accounted for 1.75 million downloads in its first three days and took home $1 million in sales within its first 12 days. Naver kicked off five apps at the end of last month that quickly climbed the charts in many Asian markets.

And a small number of apps still account for a disproportionate share of overall usage. In November, just seven apps grabbed 10 percent of all sales for the App Store for the iPhone. That number was down from January when 11 apps took in those 10 percent of sales. And just 31 apps generated 10 percent of all free apps downloaded, Distimo said.