(Yicai Global) April 28 -- Mobile app downloads and revenue hit record highs in the first quarter, according to data from App Annie, a market research firm.
New downloads on the iOS and Android platforms grew 15 percent on the year to 25 billion worldwide, while in-app spending soared 45 percent to more than USD15 billion. The actual income received by developers would be even higher than that figure, which does not include revenue from in-app advertising or selling mobile e-commerce apps.
App Annie attributed most of the increase in app revenue to the Chinese market's big spending on the App Store. China was the top spender on Apple devices and was a key contributor to growth, with the report forecasting that the country will maintain the position until 2021.
Applications on iOS once again generated more revenue than on Android, with the gap widening further. In the first quarter, revenue at the iOS App Store doubled that of Google Play, moving up from the 90 percent difference during the same period last year.
However, just comparing App Store and Google Play does not reflect the entire market, the report added. In last month's report, it said Android is set to take over iOS in terms of app revenue this year, if third party app stores are included. China is host to a number of third party download platforms, with major players including Tencent Holdings Ltd. [HKG:0700], Baidu Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU], Xiaomi Inc. and Huawei Technologies Co., who are expected to bring in USD20 billion in revenue this year.
Emerging markets, like India, are also boosting app downloads, especially on Google Play, but more mature markets are still the key growth driver, the report said. The US and South Korea witnessed substantial increases in their share of global user spending on Google Play during the first three months, while the US and Japan recorded the biggest gains in such spending.