Study: iOS App Store Provides Revenue, Google Play Has Download Reach

Mobile developers wondering which of the two major app stores to target may find some guidance in a recent survey from App Annie, which indicated Apple's App Store generates more revenue for devs while the Google Play store for Android apps provides more download volume.

Furthermore, that existing dichotomy is only being extended by big mobility pushes in emerging markets.

"iOS and Google Play continued to show diverging growth patterns in Q3 2015," the company said in its "App Annie Index: Market Q3 2015" report (registration required). "Google Play expanded its download lead over iOS thanks to first-time smartphone users in emerging markets like India and Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, iOS extended its revenue lead over Google Play thanks to its continued strength in another Asian market: China."

Earlier this year, another company, appFigures, reported that Google Play for the first time overtook the iOS store in app inventory in 2014. That trend apparently only strengthened as the global market saw a new influx of mobile users.

iOS vs. Android Usage Patterns
[Click on image for larger view.] iOS vs. Android Usage Patterns (source: App Annie)

"In Q3 2015, worldwide downloads on Google Play were about 90 percent higher than on the iOS App Store, up from an 85 percent lead in Q2 2015," the report states. "Emerging markets like India, Indonesia and fast-rising Vietnam were primary growth drivers as the population of first-time smartphone owners continued to grow. As sub-$50 smartphones gain prominence in these regions, they are likely to attract users with very different needs compared to those buying devices priced $200 or above. Targeting new user segments at the lower end of the market may give local app developers an opportunity to stand out from the crowd."

However, to rise above the famous mobile app development "poverty line," independent coders may want to target the more affluent iOS crowd (enterprise devs are already doing pretty well).

"Worldwide revenue on the iOS App Store was about 80 percent higher than on Google Play in Q3 2015, up from 70 percent in Q2 2015," App Annie said. "iOS download growth has been rising in China ever since the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus went on sale last year. As we predicted in our report China Surpasses United States by iOS Downloads, this has also translated into strong revenue growth in the country over the past few quarters. Going forward, we are curious to see the impact of the recently launched iPhone 6S and 6S Plus on this trend."

App Annie said China is the most important market for iOS apps, leading all countries in growth for both iOS revenue and downloads. Social networking apps led customer usage metrics for iPhone and iPad apps, while games supplied the most revenue and highest number of iOS downloads.

On the Android side of things, social was the most popular category for usage statistics on smartphones, while communications was the most popular type of app for tablets. Just like with the iOS App Store, games provided the most revenue and downloads on Google Play in the third quarter of 2015.

The report was generated with information provided by the App Annie Intelligence market data platform.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.