Data & Research

Distimo: 90% of the top apps delivered in English, but localisation increasingly important

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Distimo: 90% of the top apps delivered in English, but localisation increasingly important
According to the latest report from Distimo, localising an app into a region's native language will produce an appreciable increase in downloads and revenue.,


The firm claims this effect is particularly marked in Asian territories.

However, the size of this impact varies considerably, and Distimo has found that English is still far and away the single most important language for developers to support.

On the download

Distimo's report examined the iPhone and iPad App Stores in twelve countries – the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, China, Brazil and Australia.

It found that, in every one of those countries except China, the top 200 free apps charts were dominated by applications that support English.

Overall, 90 percent of the top 200 most downloaded apps included English-language support.

In China, however, 73 percent of the most downloaded apps include native language support, while 69 percent support English – a figure that suggests localisation is particularly important to the Chinese market.

Big earners

In terms of revenue, however, the picture is slightly different.

While a lack of native language support may not actively dissuade customers from downloading an app, players seem much more likely to spend on apps that support their mother tongue.

This is especially true throughout Asia, and Distimo found that in China, Korea and Japan, more of the top 200 grossing apps included native language support than support for English.

All of which suggests that localising a game can be very worthwhile, although it obviously remains a question of balancing the likely cost of such an undertaking against the estimated increase in earnings.

The bottom line

According to Distimo's numbers, though, localisation certainly seems to boost downloads.

"On average, the applications increased their download volumes on the iPhone by more than 128 percent during the next week that followed after introducing the native language app compared to the same period before the introduction of the home language," the report noted.

"This percentage was lower for the increase in revenue, which was around 26 percent. Applications in China and Japan experienced the highest improvement in terms of total downloads."

The report notes that this increase can't be entirely attributed to language support, however. Apps typically see some increase in downloads and revenue following updates, almost automatically.

You can download the report on the translation of apps in native languges from Distimo's website.
Staff Writer's news editor 2012-2013