As the market goes global, American developers are losing ground, finds a surprising new study.
American app developers are losing their grip on the global market.
As of June 2013, only 36 percent of the total number of apps worldwide were created in the U.S., down from 45 percent in both 2012 and 2011, according to data collected by Flurry.
In terms of engagement, American apps reign supreme, securing 70 percent of the total number of users and engagement this year. Still, that number is rapidly declining, as it was 75 percent in 2011.
In terms of local app use, U.S. users spend most of their time with apps developed in their country, while only 41 percent of the time are they engaging with apps from abroad.
However, that story is changing in China. There, U.S. apps only account for 16 percent of total engagement time, while the majority (64 percent) of their time is spent with apps that were made in users' country.
Perhaps the biggest issue facing U.S. developers going forward is how well they will translate and adapt their products to an increasingly global audience. In recent years, American developers have shied away from doing so, but China's size and rapid growth indicate the U.S. faces tough competition.
Some countries with smaller populations where the local language is not among the world's dominant have been aware of this problem for years and were forced to create globalized and culturally appropriate apps out of necessity. Perhaps the most famous are Finland's Angry Birds, Russia's Cut the Rope, and Australia's Fruit Ninja--all popular at home and abroad.
On another note, Flurry noted that even as advertising apps continues to get more expensive, app distribution itself has gone global. There are three reasons for this: Apple's App store and Google Play have removed software distribution costs; the number of active mobile devices around the world continues to grow; and the total cost of development is still inexpensive compared to packaged PC software.
Flurry completed its study in June by tracking 1.15 billion monthly active mobile devices, a number that grows every month.
WILL YAKOWICZ is a reporter at Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and politics at Patch.com, and his work has been published in Tablet Magazine and The Brooklyn Paper. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. @WillYakowicz