Last Updated: April 19th, 2013

Back in January, we learned that if you want to be a developer and avoid leaving money on the table, you need to be on both Android and iOS. One or the other isn't going to cut it. However, according to AppAnnie, if you have to choose just one platform, Android is still struggling to prove it's the one you should go with.

According to the report, Play Store downloads are nearing App Store levels, reaching close to 90% as much as the iOS store. Unfortunately, equal exposure isn't quite translating to equal revenue. As it turns out, Apple's platform is still bringing in about 2.6 times as much revenue as Google's counterpart.

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It's not all bad news. That gap is a lot smaller than it was the previous quarter, when iOS developers brought in 4x the revenue of Android devs. Part of that may be due to Apple's above average holiday quarter, though. Regardless of the reason for the scale, it's still a problem for Android devs.

So, why is this happening? Well, according to the report, games are a significant driver for revenue, accounting for 70% of iOS and 80% of Play Store cash. Though, with the App Store pulling in 240% of the money Google's devs are, leading Apple by 10% on this metric still leaves the devs with less than half the money available on iOS.

Of course, the alternatives to these two platforms—like Blackberry or Windows Phone—still lag far behind either in terms of sheer number of apps available or revenue generated. However, developers can take a couple things away: a.) there is virtually no distinction between the absolute sizes of the iOS App Store and the Play Store anymore and 2.) the business models for making money on Android are nowhere near optimized.

Either that or the old stereotype that Android users are inherently cheap is true. But we'd hope that at least some folks out there can prove that adage wrong.

Source: AppAnnie

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • József Király

    Large revenue might be because most of the apps what provide a functionality on iOS can be found on the Play Store for free. My 2 cents.

  • Phil Nolan

    It still doesn't make sense to compare them when many of Androids apps are free with ads while the same app is pay on ios. It's skewing the results to make Android look bad if you post this.

    • ershh

      It doesnt make android look cheap, thats what you result out of the data. After all, its a fact you cant just deny because you dont like it. The real interesting information out of this is why it is like that. The numbers itself arent telling anything.


      by the way: I couldnt care less about google making less money from their appstore than google and we shouldnt either. Of course, the report itself is viable. But its not my problem and it shouldnt be yours as well. Stuff like that is the sole reason google improves every day.

    • John O’Connor

      I would also be much more interested in them comparing results based not on an overall revenue, but on the takehome revenues that reach the developers themselves, excluding any Google or Apple Per Purchase Profit.

      At the very least we can separate those two revenue streams apart, considering a lot of the free apps on android are still not only ad supported (wherein ad revenues are not factored into the equation at all on) but Apple takes a much larger chunk of the cost per app vs. Google's business model.

    • Samvith V Rao

      The very reason companies have ads in their Android apps is because we don't spend much. They aren't skewing their results. You are misreading the data.

      • br_hermon

        Actually that isn't correct to say either. In reality it isn't skewing the results and it isn't misreading the data. What we are looking at here, rather, is an incomplete revenue report.

        • didibus

          Ya, but iOS apps can have ads also, so they would definitely get a boost from those too if ad revenue would be counted.

          The data still tells you that, if you want to make an app without ad, and sell it, your better off making it for iOS if you want to make the most money.

    • RitishOemraw

      Unless they took into account the money made from in-app advertisement (which I doubt)
      but it would be a lot more interesting to see how a chart which does take that into account looks like


      Android is full of ads because their users can't afford to buy apps :L

  • Guest

    You were right, Smith. You were always right. It was inevitable.

  • http://profiles.google.com/peter.farac Peter Farac

    Google Play revenue grew 100% from the chart against 25% for iOS....isn't this what we should be looking at, not the actual indexed revenue level???

  • William Meitzler

    As it turns out, Apple's platform is still *brining* in about 2.6 times as much revenue as Google's counterpart.

    • carlisimo

      I'd take that with a grain of salt =].

      • Marsg

        Yea just like when Apple claimed iPhones made up 90% of all smartphone web traffic and less than a month later it turned out that android had over 65% compared to apples measly 30. Or that one website i gorgot the name of that concluded that iOS users watch more videos on their devices based on the webtraffic on their site, completely disregarsing the fact that we Android users dont need a 3rd party app to view online videos do to our built in plugins. These tests are always skewed to benefit one or the other.

        • carlisimo

          Actually, I believe the data in this case. I was just making a joke in response to the "brining" comment above.

  • HellG

    There are many factors for this
    1.Play store is still not available in all countries
    2.Scratch Play store credit cards are non-existent in most countries even though they are just pieces of paper with numbers on them
    3.It's MUCH easier to illegally download an app in Android
    4.Limited list of supported devices for a lot of the apps
    I would blame google for the first and the second, and the third is something driving by the lack of #2, and the last is from the nature of android it self and because OEM's Don't give a fu*k to unify their hardware in some matter to widen the compatibility of android apps specially when it comes to GPU's

    • atlouiedog

      Competing stores, like Amazon, which sell the same apps.

      There are lots of Kindle Fires out there that don't have the Play store. I wonder if that would narrow the gap at all for Android as a whole.

    • Marsg

      You can also add emulators to the list, from the research above most of the revenue comes from games, you buy one emulator and you have hundreds of games at your fingertip, most of which are better than the ones found in the app store. I love me so Kirby.

      • HellG

        +1 I have a friend that wanted to get android for it's games (has a Nokia X6) and since i told him about bluestacks he uses it all the time, Is there anyway google can stop that? can it stop these companies from bundling the playstore?

  • Samsung Fanboy

    Google play has a refund period, app store does not.

    Android devs are stupid plain and simple.

    Searching for apps on Google Play is a nightmare, cant tell you how many times Ive searched for an app that I know is available and cannot find it.

    Google play I think has more free apps but Ive read that the app store does but only from one source.

    • Cheeseball

      The AppStore doesn't have a direct refund period (e.g. you click on a "Refund" button and your card/credit gets returned to you), but Apple does issue refunds during a fixed timeframe on request.

  • DaveN

    The article proves the following: 1) There are lots of app downloads on both platforms; 2) Android users are cheap and refuse to pay even 99 cents for an app; 3) the Android versions of apps are second quality and hence, nobody is willing to pay for them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=714859472 Rajvir Singh

      iSheep detected..

  • DaveN

    For Google Play, the U.S., South Korea, India, and Russia make up about 40 percent of downloads.

  • DaveN

    The good news is that Amazon has its own store and soon Samsung will too. It is great to have multiple vendors. The more the merrier!

  • Gabor Visnovits

    I'm not going to say i'm cheap, i've purchased a fair share of my apps these past few years. I just don't view my phone as a mobile game system. I rather use it as utility and streaming purposes for my music and look up information on the go. For me to purchase an app, it has to be something i'll use consistantly and will want/need to have a better experience.

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    >> Either that or the old stereotype that Android users are inherently cheap is true.

    Why don't you say that in reverse? Couldn't we say that iOS users are inherently big spenders w/o self-control?

    • TylerChappell

      You also have to take into consideration that once iOS users purchase an app, they're stuck with it LOL

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_BG Dave Bg

    It is because most of the apps on Android are free or supported by adds.

  • Samvith V Rao

    Man, I cannot believe some of the fanboy comments here. They've been written as if they have been personally affronted. Just pipe down and accept the data people. The very reason android apps contain ads is because android users are cheaper... AND THAT IS OK. Not everyone can afford an iPhone.

    • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

      Does this account for refunds being SUBSTANTIALLY easier on Play? Does it account for apps being released on iOS a good year+ before Android ('I played this on my friend's phone/my iPod Touch and I've already gotten sick of it")? Does it account for people who own both an Android device and an iOS device (iPod Touch)? Does it aggregate the dozen different stores available for Android devices?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1559995258 Alec Smith

    I have both iOS and Android. On my iOS device I have over 300 apps, on my android device I have about 30. For me, being on the iOS app store was just more fun and more apps interested me, but with the big change to the android marketplace it might change, its more enjoyable to check out apps now.

  • James

    How can this be an accurate report on the different platforms when there is more than one app store for Android? What would happen if you factored in the Amazon app store, and the smaller ones out there?

  • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

    No kidding, the Android Play Store is filled with garbage like launcher themes, icon packs, keyboard skins, live wallpapers, lockscreens and scam apps. These aren't real apps. The iOS app store isn't filled with this garbage, it has apps people use.

    • Cheeseball

      No, the AppStore does have the same garbage, but it's easier to identify and sift through it.

  • Cenarl

    I think its the simple fact that more kids and tweens have apple products and pick up massive amounts of cards and blow them without a care in the world. Money means nothing to them since they don't earn it and they nearly all choose Apple products because of herd mentality. I have no doubt itunes makes much more then the play store till Android captures the kid market., they spend way more then adults.

  • 8Charlie

    1. Gift cards; why can I still not use them?
    2. PayPal; would definitely boost the amount of cash being spent in the Play Store.
    3. Did they pay attention to the revenue that companies make through ads?

  • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

    I think the author has extrapolated some unfair conclusions from this data. As other commenters have mentioned, this data doesn't at all represent the complete revenue that developers are receiving for their apps. It is definitely fair to say "Direct Play Store revenue is lower than iOS App Store revenue", but to say this:

    "Though, with the App Store pulling in 240% of the money Google's devs are, leading Apple by 10% on this metric still leaves the devs with less than half the money available on iOS."

    Is misleading. The fact is you don't know how much less the devs are actually ending up with (if indeed it's less at all - I assume it is, but we don't know that for certain either). You would need a complete revenue report in order to draw some of the conclusions posted as fact in this article. To determine whether Android devs are getting less revenue than iOS developers you would need to factor in Android's alternative app stores, ad revenue and other (donations for example).

    To clarify (because I know I'll be misunderstood): I'm not saying the conclusions drawn above are wrong - they may be right, they may not be. I'm saying they're unsupported by evidence and shouldn't be stated so matter-of-factly.