New research from Distimo shows app downloads racing ahead, and while Google's App store is growing fastest, Apple still has a sizeable lead as they expand to new territories.

Google Playing the Game Well

While Samsung and Apple battle it out for hardware market share, it is Google vs. Apple in the battle of the app stores. Monitoring app stores and downloads over the year, Distimo's latest research shows Google's Play store growth at 43% across the major territories, while Apple's App Store saw growth of 21%.

However, Apple was raking in an average of $15 million per day, while Google could only manage $3.5 million in revenue. In-app purchases now make up over two-thirds of transactions at 69% but there are still many apps, such as navigation products, that earn a healthy living from one-off purchases (although those apps have one of the higher price points).

There's Now an App for Everything

 The figures differ around the world with the U.S. being the largest market for overall app sales in 2012, followed by the gadget-happy folk in Japan, the U.K. and Australia. Russia, which got its Apple App Store only recently is one of the fastest growing markets. Across the stores, games companies such as Zynga and EA dominate sales, with Apple the only notable exception. Google which gives away all its apps, such as the new YouTube Capture, sits behind Apple in the publisher chart. 

The top five apps on the Apple store were:

Learning Opportunities

  1. Instagram

  2. Temple Run
  3. Find my iPhone
  4. Facebook 
  5. iBooks

While over on Google they were:

  1. Street View
  2. Facebook
  3. Voice Search
  4. Maps 
  5. Gmail

The full report is available from Distimo and covers the Amazon, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Stores. It will be hosting a webinar covering this research on 3 January, you can register for it here