According to Fiksu, downloads of free iPhone apps grew by 31% in May compared to the same month in 2012. This is nothing to sniff at, but it clearly signals the maturation of the iOS app market in the United States. The daily download level of 5.9 million in May still sits below January’s pace of 6.1 million daily downloads. This stands in stark contrast with Google Play’s torrid download volume growth in Asia in the first half of 2013. Interestingly, Fiksu also reports that the iOS app user acquisition cost is now actually dropping as Facebook’s mobile app install ads exert downward pressure on marketing campaign pricing.
Globally, app markets in major countries are now diverging as Android is soaring ahead of iOS in app downloads and revenue in Japan and South Korea, while iOS remains the dominant platform in the United States. The slow-down in American iOS download growth is helping Google Play narrow Apple’s global download lead. As a result, Asian app vendors like GungHo and LINE are surging to the top of the global app industry, largely on the strength of their success in Asia on the Android platform, which is starting to spill over to their iOS businesses as well.