Spanning across 17.1 million km², 2 continents and 11 time zones, it comes as no surprise that Russia's vast size results in a hugely varied and complex climate. But are any apps up to the challenge of providing the Russian people with their much needed weather report? We took a closer look at the data from the country's weather category to find out.
Encompassing the extreme winters of Siberia where temperatures reach as low as -50℃, to the pleasant summers of Sochi or the Baltic Coast where many go to don their speedos and top up their tan; Russian forecasters certainly have their work cut out.
Mobile technology has made localised weather updates a normal convenience of every day life; a progression that you might expect a country of this size to welcome with open arms, inciting fierce competition as developers look to capitalise on the massive demand.
Furthermore, Russia is the 5th largest app market in the world, with over 84 million mobile users. Therefore, this should be viewed as an exciting market with huge opportunities for developers who manage to best provide the population with an app to cope with the unpredictable conditions.
So who is the sun currently shining down on? And who's perched ready to steal their thunder?
You don't need to be a meteorologist to see that Android holds the largest share of the Russian mobile market; the difference in download numbers speaks for itself.
Yandex, Russia’s answer to Google, comes out top in both stores with their weather app. There is a noticeable trend across many Russian categories that the best performing apps are localised and have a specially adapted version for the Russian people.
Yandex are the largest technology company in the country, largely due to their search engine, which earned its popularity from its ability to notice Russian inflection in searches.
Being such a trusted household name, it is not surprising that they hold pole position; however their split of the overall market share is hardly monopolising. An unusually broad range of apps have a stake in the Russian market, and only three manage to appear in the top 10 across both platforms.
This can be compared to the UK market where the top 3 apps are much more established, holding 34.6% of the Android market and 30.9% of the iOS market. In Russia they hold just 20.5% and 15.9% respectively.
There is no doubt that the market is saturated, however, it remains to be seen whether one developer can rain on Yandex's parade by swooping in a truly dominating the market.
This begs the question: can our data identify anyone ready to step it up and compete for that top spot?
Some weather apps attempt to differentiate themselves by injecting some fun into the mundane. We have seen apps introduce gamification and novelty features, such as relevant entertaining quotes to accompany the weather. 'What The Forecast?!!' and 'Humorcast' have seen global success from this tactic; but have struggled to crack a smile in the Russian market.
If novelty won't do the trick, then perhaps some lessons can be taken from the rise of NOAA Weather Radar Live, especially in the iOS store. This app not only provides daily weather information, but is also able to identify areas of high air pollution.
Nevertheless, upon closer inspection, we can see that in spite of an excellent end to 2018, the app's downloads in Russia have fallen right off.
If obvious differentiable features can't give us an answer, perhaps there is some insight to be gained from tracking growth statistics over the last year. For iOS, it seems that Yandex remains fairly comfortable in holding their position of power remaining consistent with their main competitors.
However, the Android market (more representative of the Russian market as a whole), tells a much more interesting story.
'Weather forecast' by Green Apple studio burst onto the scene in April 2018, but was the 2nd most downloaded weather app of that year. Despite being available on the Android store for less than a year, it is close to matching the download rates of Yandex.Weather.
However, they are not alone in the challenge for top place. 'Simple Weather Forecast', seemingly out of nowhere, has seen unprecedented growth in the first 3 months of 2019 and is now also matching the download rates of the country's long-term favourite.
If either of these apps can continue this form, they'd be well on their way to taking advantage of a lucrative market that is yet to see any established control.