As of April 1st:
- 82,234 apps
- 20,327 publishers (developers)
- Proportion of quality apps (rated five or more times) stable at 8%
The 50,000 app mark was reached on December 27th, the 60,000 mark on January 22nd and the 70,000 mark on February 23rd. It has taken an additional 30 days to reach the 80,000 mark. The 10,000 publisher mark was passed in early November 2011, just over a year after the Windows Phone Marketplace was opened.
This means, with the 20,000 mark passed at the end of March 2012, that it has taken just under 5 months to double the number of developers who have published a Windows Phone app.
Both the 80,000 apps and 20,000 publishers milestones, together with their respective growth rates, suggest the Windows Phone Marketplace is enjoying sustained and accelerating growth. It is now comfortably the third biggest mobile app ecosystem, behind Android (450,000+) and iOS (550,000+), but some way ahead of Blackberry (70,000) and Symbian (70,000).
Number of Content Items (Apps) Published
The graph below shows the growth in the total number of apps (content items) published to the Windows Phone Marketplace over the last 17 months.
In common with other application stores, the total number of published items is not the same as the number of items available to consumers. Of the 82,234 items published to the Marketplace, just over 9,500 are no longer available (removed by Microsoft or withdrawn by the publisher).
In addition, some apps are only available in select markets. This means the number of available items to a consumer, in a given market, is lower than the number of published items. The current approximate figures are: US (69,123), UK (65,705), France (62,893), Spain (60,061), Italy (59,665), Germany (61,372), Australia (61,256), Russia (45,067), Brazil (39,145) India (61,156) and China (21,530).
Microsoft has almost doubled the number of countries in which the Marketplace is available this year. As a result, we are seeing an increasing number of apps that are only available in one or a subset of countries. We estimate that this accounts for roughly 20% of apps added to the Marketplace.
The last few weeks has seen an increase in the number of apps being added (340 per day), when compared to February (average of 250 per day), but this is still slightly down from January's high (average of 375 per day). Q1 2012 as whole (average 327 per day) is significantly higher than Q4 2011 (210 per day). This overall trend suggests that the combination of a maturing platform (Mango release) and the entry of Nokia into the Windows Phone ecosystem has had a very positive impact on the number of apps being published to the Marketplace.
At the current (March) pace the 100,000 milestone will be reached in late May, earlier than we previously predicted (but still subject to change).
As we previously noted, the quantity of apps is best used only as a guideline metric. The quality of apps in an app store is also very important, but is more difficult to judge objectively.
In January, we started looking at how many times an app has been rated as a metric. This can be seen as an analog for quality since only applications and games seen as useful are likely to be downloaded and rated multiple times (spam apps will be ignored). In the Windows Phone Marketplace, just over 6,700 apps have been rated 5 or more times (UK market); that compares to just over 6,000 apps, using the same criteria, at the end of February. After increasing from January to February, the proportion of quality apps is holding steady at just over 8% of the Windows Marketplace.
Although directly comparable figures are not available for the Apple App Store or Google Play (Android Marketplace), a rough estimate suggests that the proportion of quality apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace in somewhere in between that of iOS (higher proportion) and Android (lower proportion).
Related to this issue is a perception that Windows Phone is missing big name apps (e.g. Instagram, Words with Friends, Angry Birds Space). As the Windows Phone Marketplace moves towards 100,000+ apps, we expect to see a shift away from quantity metrics to quality metrics when assessing and commenting on app stores. This is overdue, but caution must be exercised as there can be a tendency to focus on the presence or absence of individual apps, rather than the overall picture.
In app terms, there is no doubt that Windows Phone is, currently, in a weaker position than iOS and Android. In quantitative terms, it faces a seemingly Sisyphean task to gain parity with a moving target. Nonetheless, in qualitative terms, there is a point at which, as far as consumers are concerned, there is little or no difference.
Content by category and license
The chart below shows the proportion of content in each of the Windows Phone Marketplace's top level categories. Entertainment is the single biggest category (15,216 items). The next three biggest categories are tools + productivity (11,999), games (10,222) and books + reference (9,708 items). The four biggest categories (out of seventeen) make up 59% of the content.
67% of items in the Windows Phone Marketplace are free, 10% are paid with a free trial and 22% are paid. The proportion of free apps has increased from 65% to 67% since our February report. The recent increase in the number of markets where Microsoft's advertising service is available to developers is likely a significant contributory factor to this trend.
As we noted in our previous report, the Windows Marketplace remains a long way behind iOS and Android in terms of total number of apps. However, its relative performance is roughly between the two.
These numbers are from our own tracking system, which is also used to power the All About Windows Phone Apps & Games section, where you can browse the applications and games, and install them via links to Zune Desktop, the web-based Marketplace, or install them directly by scanning the QR Code with Bing Vision on your smartphone.
If you're interested in getting additional insight or more detailed data, please get in touch and ask about the AAWP App Tracking service.