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Digital downloads hit $57 billion worldwide

The world's ever-growing love for all things digital shows no signs of abating,with global spend on media downloads surpassing $57 billion in 2013, up almost 30 percent from the previous year.


Blend Images/Ariel Skelley | Vetta | Getty Images

The joint report by IHS and App Annie showed that the U.S. remained the "powerhouse" in terms of consumer spend on digital content, but that there were other stand-out markets with potential growth. The survey also covered France, Germany, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the U.K..

"These include South Korea, where overall digital spend per capita is much higher than the U.S., or the U.K., which has one of the strongest online music markets," wrote Jack Kent, principal analyst, mobile media at IHS Technology.

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The report noted that Japan and South Korea were high-growth markets when it came to digital content spending due to increased device adoption and the popularity of gaming apps. South Korea was also the leader when it came to the amount of the country covered by high-speed 4G networks, being the first country to reach over 50 percent.

While gaming apps are huge in South Korea and Japan, U.K. consumers still preferred to spend more on online music in 2013, although the report said that "continued growth will see spend on game apps leapfrog online music in 2014." The UK was the leading European country for total digital content spend.

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Elsewhere in Europe, Germany overtook its neighbor France in digital content spend per person last year, with game apps once again leading the way.

The U.S., with the widest range of content spend and the highest number of devices per person, also saw games apps grow the most between 2012 and 2013, with the report predicting that gaming's growth will challenge online movies in the coming years.

Another area for growth that the report highlighted was Russia. "Russia provides content companies with strong growth opportunities for future growth," it stated. "Its relatively low connected device install base means further smartphone and tablet adoption will see continued improvement in Russian content spend."

—By CNBC's Kiran Moodley. Follow him on Twitter @kirancmoodley

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