App Annie, a mobile platform analytics company, published its findings for app store revenue this week, and it turns out that although Apple continues its revenue dominance against Google, the Play Store is growing faster than the App Store.
Despite huge gains in total download numbers, Google’s Play Store is slowly, albeit steadily, gaining on the App Store’s revenue numbers. By the end of October 2012, Google was up over 300% from its January numbers, while Apple was up only 13%. These numbers are misleading, however, since Google started the year with next to nothing in its Play Store coffers, while Apple had already earned $4 billion from App Store revenue.
While these numbers accumulate direct app revenue, such as when users make a single purchase, as well as in-app purchases for free-to-play media, many of the gains made in the Play come from the East. Japan and Korea specifically are the biggest winners in Google Play revenue. Android has blown up in both countries, and local publishers are taking advantage of popular brands such as Kakao to convince users to part with their money.
Most app revenue, on both platforms, unsurprisingly came from game publishers. Zynga and EA, along with Gameloft and Halfbrick (makers of Fruit Ninja) were among the top 10, but Japan and Korean owned eight of the top ten places for app revenue sorted by publisher on Google Play. iOS was more Western-focused, with Electronic Arts leading the way, though with over 950 titles on the App Store their lead is anything but shocking.
Though Apple still outstrips Google in terms of free app downloads by 10%, it’s interesting to see developers such as Go Launcher, makers of the insanely popular launcher alternative for Android, sitting at number four, ahead of big names like Twitter, Skype and WhatsApp.
Overall, the situation doesn’t look as grim for Google as it did a year ago. Users are paying for apps, although most are games, and total numbers of downloads are approaching App Store territory quickly. People are beginning to understand that Google has built itself a versatile and potentially profitable portal for app developers, and users are beginning to see the value in investing their money into it.