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Mobile apps a key focus for top 100 global brands says report

Kleenex isn't yet in the Apple App Store, but BMW is. In fact, the Bavarian car maker has not one but 63 mobile applications.

Major consumer brands are increasingly turning to mobile app stores to help drive business. According to an October report from Distimo, 51% of the world's top 100 brands (based on figures from Interbrand) had a presence in at least one app store 18 months ago. Today, that figure is at 91% — and the remaining 9% still have an app in their own app stores.

The Apple App Store for iPhone is the most popular choice of these top brands, with 86% gearing their apps for the iPhone, followed by 66% for the iPad. Google's Android Market is third in line, at 59%, beating RIM's BlackBerry App World with 26%.

"The Google Android Market is closing in on the Apple App Store for iPhone in terms of the number of available applications," states the report. "This can also be seen when looking at the number of available brands who have started to publish on the Android platform over time. The remarkable growth of the Apple App Store for iPad also stands out."

While approximately 18% were contributing to the iPad store in Sept. 2010, a year later that figure was creeping toward 70%. Steep growth is also seen regarding contributors to the Amazon app store, which opened in March 2011 with zilch and is now at approximately 15%.

"A quick win for these brands would also be to publish their app in the Amazon Appstore," offered Distimo, "since it is also an app store for Android."

The majority of brands, it adds, aren't directly trying to make money from the apps — though 27% (with 32% of the applications) are.

The top categories? Personalization leads by a long shot (with 488 apps in the category), followed by Business (256), Lifestyle (244), Entertainment (181) and Music (124).

And of course, BMW isn't alone in thinking more is better. The average brand has 24 applications—or more accurately, closer to 15, when the top two data-skewing brands are removed from the data. Those companies? Sony, with 285 apps, and Disney, with 636.

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