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Big brands dominate kids paid apps market

In case you thought that the app business was the realm for small independent developers with a good idea and a dream, a quick survey of App Annie's top 50 grossing kids app rankings might just change your mind. Not unlike the traditional toy shelves, the app market for kids is dominated by big name licensors.
December 19, 2013

In case you thought that the app business was the realm for small independent developers with a good idea and a dream, a quick survey of App Annie’s rankings might just change your mind.

Not unlike the traditional toy shelves, the paid app market for kids is dominated by big name licensors.

Out of the top 50 grossing kids apps, a full 11 of them are based on Disney properties: Disney Princess Palace Pets, Disney Junior Appisodes, Mickey Mouse: Mash-Up, Frozen: Storyboard Deluxe, Disney Storytime, Doc McStuffins: Moving with Doc, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint & Play, Disney Princess Story Theater, Sofia the First: The Floating Palace and¬†Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Wildlife Count Along. That represents 22% of the market, a significant share by any account.

Other big-ticket properties also represented, stemming from the portfolios of companies like Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop, have multiple hit apps in the top 50 paid category. On the indie front, the most profitable independent studio is Toca Boca, whose Toca Lab and Toca Hair Salon both sit in the list of the top three grossing paid apps in the US.

The free app market, however, seems to be a little more welcoming to smaller players. While Disney IPs occupy five of the top 50 free apps (10%) and titles from Mattel and Sesame Workshop also dot the top 50, smaller developers such as BlueBear Technologies, Tayasui and Titan Games can all be found in the top 10.

While it may be a fool’s errand to draw iron-clad conclusions based on a small sample size and top 50 list, perhaps it is accurate to say that much like at their bricks-and-mortar equivalent, a big name and a powerful brand drive sales at app retailers.

About The Author
Gary Rusak is a freelance writer based in Toronto. He has covered the kids entertainment industry for the last decade with a special interest in licensing, retail and consumer products. You can reach him at garyrusak@gmail.com

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