The Google Play Store and the iOS App Store lie at the heart of the Android and iOS ecosystems respectively. And both are constantly battling for supremacy in the App world, trying to lay claim to the seat of the champion.
So who’s the real winner?
To judge the performance of an app store, there are three main factors to consider. In order of their importance, they are:
- Total number of apps available to download
- Total number of actual downloads
- Total revenue generated
In the first category, Google Play Store and the iOS App Store are almost neck to neck, with Google inching slightly ahead.
While a hundred thousand seems like a large number, it’s not all that big a deal. We’re talking about the number of apps available in the app store. Most of them could well be obscure apps people hardly ever use, so a difference of a hundred thousand is almost insignificant.
Coming to the second point – the number of actual downloads – this is where Google beats Apple by a huge margin. The Play Store saw twice the number of downloads as the App Store this quarter. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise given that Android still controls over 82% of the world’s smartphone market share, with Apple trailing behind at only 15%.
No need to rejoice yet, Android fans. The fortunes are reversed in the final category – Revenue – where, despite having half the downloads, Apple posted twice the earnings as Google!
Source: App Annie’s Index Market Q1 2016
A lot of this revenue boost can be attributed to China which saw an incredible 2.2x growth from the same quarter last year (Q1 2015). A majority of those downloads happen to be games, giving China top spot holder for most games download in the world.
The plain and simple reason for this could be that there is a great number of free apps for Android users. Or, it could well be the easy availability of third party sources from where they can easily download their apps. This is a luxury denied to iOS users, who have to resort to spending money on the App Store. Hence, more revenue for Apple!
One sincere Apple fan boy had this to say in the comments section of 9to5mac:
“The only reason why the App Store makes more money but with less downloads, is because on iOS people are buying apps that work. While on the Play Store people are downloading multiple apps of the same type for free to find something that works then settles for paying for an app for better quality.”
While this fella lacks subtlety, he sure does make a point. On our part, we’re not sure whether we should be happy about having ‘apps that work’ or be sad that we can’t romp through a store full of free goodies.
We’re going to take a minute and mull over this, but in the meanwhile, let’s congratulate both Android and Apple on their respective wins. Android has more downloads than Apple and Apple has more money than Android. That sounds about fair, don’t you think? Grin, grin!