updated 01:31 pm EST, Wed December 11, 2013
Game revenue driven by five publishers
Japan has reportedly taken the lead position in mobile app revenue for both iOS and Android platforms, according to data collected by analyst firm App Annie. The US previously held the top spot, however Japan's four-fold jump in revenue from mobile game sales has helped the country maintain a stronger growth rate over the past year.
Explaining the recent trends, the analyst firm notes that Japanese customers are already accustomed to purchasing digital content on feature phones. Residents are also expected to continue adopting smartphones at a higher rate than their US counterparts, with smartphone penetration in Japan expected to reach 62 percent in 2014 compared to just 50 percent in the US.
"If 2013 was the year where Japan's smartphone penetration caught up with the US, 2014 will be the year where it completely obliterates things," App Annie says. "The impact this will have on app downloads and revenue is a mouth-watering prospect for businesses invested in that region of the world."
Despite the dominance of Apple's App Store in nearly every market, App Annie suggests Google Play revenue in Japan is now equivalent in terms of overall revenue. If growth rates continue on the same paths, Google Play is expected to take and extend the lead. The search giant has been credited with quickly embracing carrier billing in a country that is said to traditionally rely on cash, rather than credit cards.