November 22, 2014

Japan Tops U.S. with Sales on Google Play

Google Play App1

If you serve a niche market, remember that the U.S. may not always be the most lucrative place to find customers.

Consider a recent report that suggests Japan for the first time is leading the U.S. in both app spending and app revenue.

Also unusual is the fact that the majority of these sales are coming from Google Play instead of the Apple Store. Most of these apps are games for the smartphone or tablet, but there’s a reason the trend is important to small businesses too.

Here is the Breakdown of the Report

Data collected mostly by app tracker site AppAnnie reveals that:

  • Japanese users spent 10 percent more than U.S. consumers this year. The stat is all the more surprising when you realize that just last year Japanese consumers were spending 40 percent less than their U.S. counterparts, the Wall Street Journal says.
  • Most of those sales come from Google Play. Japan is the only major market where Google Play is competing successfully with the Apple Store for total revenue.
  • Growth of the market is predicted to continue. Apparently 62 percent of Japan’s mobile phones are expected to be smartphones by 2014 while only 50 percent of those in the US will be. This probably means more customers interested in downloading apps.
  • Japanese spending is disproportionately large. Japanese consumers are spending more on game apps even though the number of game players in the Japanese market is a third of that in the U.S.

What This Means to Small Business Owners

Again, yes, most of these apps seem to be games, not accounting or other tools likely to be downloaded by small business owners.

But the point here is that markets around the world may have very different characteristics. And thus demands for products and services and the distribution routes to deliver them may vary greatly.

Reports suggest Japanese app publishers are already looking for partners to help them break into the U.S. app market.

Consider looking for opportunities in markets outside the U.S. and for partners that might be able to help you overcome cultural and other barriers in those markets. Digital communications has made it so much easier to find these partners and cheaper to distribute some products and services.

A product or service only moderately successful in the U.S. market, may be a big hit in other markets, if you know where and when to introduce it.

Image: Google Play

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Joshua Sophy - Staff Writer


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering technology and business news. He is a journalist and editor with 15 years experience in media. A former newspaper reporter and editor, Joshua also serves as President of the Board of Directors of a curling club and is editor of a regional newsletter focused on the sport of curling in the Eastern U.S.

3 Reactions

  1. That’s not really as surprising as Japan is well known for creating some really cool games. Not to mention that they can get highly addicting. No matter what, games will always top the application charts.

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