The iPhone as a Gaming Platform: Share of Top Apps By Category

As a follow-up to my recent post on the Top Grossing Apps list on iTunes, I examined three lists highlighted in the app store: the Top Paid, Top Free, and Top Grossing Apps. Believing that many users scan these lists, developers covet a spot on any of these Top 100 charts.

In my previous posts, I’ve highlighted that Games is the largest category, accounting for about 20% of unique apps. The graphs below show that the gaming category has a much larger share†† in each of the three Top 100 lists:


68% of the Top Paid, 67% of the Top Free, and 50% of the Top Grossing apps were Games. Other categories that had disproportionate share of apps in the Top 100 rankings include Social Networking, Photography, (and to a lesser extent) Sports, and Utilities.

In contrast, three of the five largest categories (Books, Travel, Education) were severely underrepresented in each of the U.S. iTunes Top 100 Charts.

(†) Size of a category is measured in terms of unique apps.

(††) Data for this post was from the two weeks ending 10/4/2009. I consider an app as being in the Top 100, if it was listed among the most popular (free, paid or grossing) apps, sometime during those two weeks.

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  • I’m unclear of the x-axis on the 2 charts on the right. Does “share of All Apps” mean that? If so how can games have a > 50% share of both “Top Free” and “Top Paid”? Do you mean “Share of Top Free Apps” and “Share of Top Paid Apps”?

    The Games category showing is very impressive. How much of it is due to fast turnover – ie the composition of titles in the “top paid” and “top free” and how much do the games make per title?

    • Hi Alex,
      Sorry for the confusion: Share of All Apps (%), refers to share within the specific category/chart.

      RE: Turnover
      It has been a while, but I did an analysis last year that is somewhat relevant. I’ll try to update it sometime soon. Back then, the turnover of Games in the Top 100 list wasn’t shorter than most categories.


  • I’m more interested in the iPhone as a publishing platform. Saw this piece on authors who are using it as a digital ‘paperback’ publishing platform and to me that’s innovation.

  • Ted


    This is great stuff, thanks for posting. I think it’d be great if they would publish top grossing for each category as well. Right now they have top free, top paid and release date. I’m not sure the release date one really helps anyone.