Google Play, or Android Market as it was earlier known, started in Autumn 2008 with the release of the first Android-powered smart phone – the HTC Dream. Today, Google Play has over 800,000 apps. Although Apple’s App Store has always been one step ahead of Android in terms of the number of apps, Android’s app store is fast gaining momentum.
Even though the Play Store is catching up to the App Store in terms of app numbers and app downloads, it still trails behind when it comes to revenues. There is a significant gap between the monthly global revenues of Google Play and iOS, but it gradually and steadily closing. There has been a growth in revenues for Google Play, which is definitely encouraging for Android developers. However, there still remains a lack of willingness among Android users to pay for apps.
Why the hesitation to develop apps for Android?
A lot of iOS developers are unwilling to develop for Android because of the lack of revenues. Unlike Apple, many of whose apps are paid; many of the Apps of Google are free.
A higher percentage of Apple products users, who are usually more affluent than the average smart phone users, have registered their credit cards on their Apple accounts. This makes it easier and much more likely for them to purchase apps. On the other hand, Google depends on more varied payment methods that include Google wallet, carrier billing and credit card purchases.
For the iOS App Store, China has started to play an increasingly significant role in download numbers. Games are a major hit with iOS users, and they spend as much as 70 percent of their money on apps that belong to this category.
A deeper look into things…
Home to some of the major Android device manufacturers like Samsung and LG, South Korea probably has the largest infiltration of smart phones in the world, with as many as 80 percent of the population owning Android devices. Especially because mobile gaming is hugely popular in the country, this may have been part of the stimulus for Google Play’s recent revenue growth. Android also seems to be more popular in Japan than in the US, making it the biggest market for Android apps. Also, a huge influx of low-cost Android smart phones into India is slowly turning it into a major app-downloading territory.
Google has also overtaken Apple as the most popular publisher in the iOS app store, especially in terms of downloads of non-game apps. The YouTube app and Google Maps, both of which belong to Google, used to come preinstalled with iOS devices, and have now become the two top downloads.
Google Play has market leadership with regard to app offers, but Apple has been much more successful in monetarizing their mobile app users. Though Google is catching up, Apple has a head-start in revenues that it would take Google Play to take some time to overtake the iOS App Store.