Distimo’s Latest Report Reveals Mobile App Localization Trends

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The latest report from mobile analytics firm Distimo examines in detail the trends surrounding the localization of mobile applications. That is, which app stores tend to have a higher or lower number of apps that are published in just one country alone.

According to its findings, globally, 27% of the most popular applications are popular exclusively in one country in Apple’s App Store for iPhone. Meanwhile, Nokia’s Ovi Store has the highest proportion of apps published in just one country (29.4%) while the App Store for iPad has the lowest (3.4%).

Aside from the Nokia Ovi Store (29.4%), only a small proportion of apps are tailored to one specific country in the other vendors’ apps stores, including iPhone (5.2%), iPad (3.4%), Android (4.9%) and Windows Phone (3.5%). Distimo ignored RIM in this report, it should be noted.

The majority of the locally published applications in the Nokia Ovi Store target either China or Italy. Two large publishers accounting for nearly 9% of the Ovi catalog in Italy are responsible for this country’s appearance here: “3” and “Dada.” Combined, they publish over 8,000 apps in Italy, primarily ringtones and wallpapers.

China is more affected by publishing restrictions, says Distimo. In China, games can only be published to the Ovi Store through licensed aggregators KongZhong and Tom Online. Videos can only go through CNR. Together, the three account for 5,845 apps in China’s Nokia Ovi Store.

Elsewhere, the U.S. and the U.K. feature the most locally published apps, with the U.S. having 7,158 apps that are exclusive to the iPhone App Store in the U.S. When the App Store (iPhone and iPad) and Google’s Android Market are combined, the U.S., U.K., South Korea and Japan are about equal in terms of locally available apps.

Despite the high number of locally published apps in the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad in the U.S., the proportion of local apps is relatively low, says Distimo. 22% of  the 100 most popular iPhone apps and 19% of 100 most popular iPad apps are U.S.-only apps, it found.

China and Japan have the most locally popular apps, the firm reports, and, as a general trend, local apps are very popular in all the mobile marketplaces worldwide.

Distimo also examined the overlap of the top applications in the U.S. iTunes App Store, finding that top apps here tend to be popular in other English-speaking countries, but have the lowest overlap with Japan and China.

Other countries seeing overlap include Mexico and Argentina (overlap 60%), Belgium, The Netherlands and France (51%), and Germany, Austria and Switzerland (57%). China and Singapore have an average overlap of 25%, which is low, but higher than the overlap between China and other countries (average 16%).

The report then further breaks down the top paid and free apps in all the tracked app stores, both in the U.S. and worldwide. You can read more in the report, available here on Distimo’s website.