Google Play experiences huge growth in 2012, but lags behind iOS for app revenue

Daniel Bader

December 1, 2012 3:41pm

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.

See the whole report over at App Annie (PDF).
Via: TechCrunch

  • Ben

    Expect this trend of Google Play to accelerate in the coming few years as Android continues to dominate smartphone sales and sell well with tablets; as has been seen with the sharp increase in tablet sales spurred by the incredibly popular Nexus 7.

    Play is quickly becoming a fantastic repository of all types of content, and people are buying.

    • lol rim and canada

      What about RIM? RIm is canadian and canadians are good and smart are they not? LOL! haha canada, land of refugees and third world garbage

    • techo

      As long as android phone makers make good and selective high end phones like Samsung’s note and s-series, htc one-series and off course nexus. Those phones make non android user want to join android community. The midrange phones in Android is what gives android bad name. Samsung and HTC should show domination just by single series rather than spamming phone market with 100s model each year. If the do that android community will grow much faster.

  • D Mac

    This doesn’t take into account add revenue. App store revenues might be 4x times that of the Play store, but how does ad revenue compare? There are thousands upon thousands of apps that are paid in the App store and Free ad supported in the play store (Angry Birds for example).

    So you really need to look at Full developer revenue not just one time app purchase price.

  • zzzZZZZzz

    Like D Mac mentioned, no info about ad revenues. I actually decided to read the entire article before saying the same old hoping there’s some info about ad revenue, but nope. So here it is again:

    Are these graphs even quoting ad revenue? Do you really think devs would keep on making apps for Android if they wouldn’t get revenue from something? Good thing most devs are smart enough not to pay much attention to these graphs as they are totally misleading. I really wish Rovio would provide some revenue data since they probably are the biggest earner of revenue from ads, second probably just to Google.

    I love how these analysts don’t realize that they are looking at two different ecosystems: much like apples(no pun intended) and oranges, sure both are fruit, but not quite similar.

    It’s getting as bad as looking at Nielson ratings for TV shows when pretty much everyone I know watches TV shows online, at their convenience. The ones who complain in the TV business just fail to adjust to the times, similarly those who complain about not making money on Android can’t adjust to the times. Make something good that keeps people playing (if talking about games) and that free ad-supported app can bring in way more revenue per person than a 99c one time price.

    • Jermal

      I agree, ad revenue is huge. If you want to make a one time hit on a person for a dollar and live like a king for a week than go ahead, but think about it. In Canada most contracts are 3 year terms and every else 2, so if you just ding them once, thats a $1 every 2 or 3 years. on the other hand, if you give it for free and use ads to make profit, thats money everytime they open your app.

      Now all we need is good content, like games that keep you playing.

    • Justin

      Also quick thing to add here, when you sell that 99c game a third of it goes to Apple, it is much better to just have an ad supported game (for a dev) because then I don’t lose profits to the company just because its in there store. Its really a win win for everyone. You get free hopefully good quality games and Devs aren’t paying already rich companies.

  • Adam

    Probably because Angry Birds is free on the Play Store and not on the iOS Store.

  • Dave

    The Google Army is TOO STRONG…

  • Joe

    So that’s maybe not so good for google, but that’s mean that it’s good for me – the consumer.

    Let the sheeps give their money to apple

  • 3hairs

    you’re not selling out already are you? ;)

  • Tom Gray

    Google Play Store may suffer less purchased up front revenue, but I bet they make more from in app ad revenue. Many more free apps with more ad-support to help keep it cheap for the end user.

    I use Android and my brother uses an iPhone. We both love our phones and our own respective platforms. He’s jealous that a lot of his paid games are free on my side, and I’m a little miffed that a lot of good games on his side don’t come over to Android, or comes way late. They each have their ups and downs.

  • John Stewart

    Like a few people here said… It’s called Ad Revenue. Google apps revenue is almost twice that of Apples when you take both sales and ad revenue into account.

    While you google that statistic remember the ads you see while surfing are from GOOGLE, not Apple.

  • ihitmyheadalot

    given the choice ill always pay for an app if it means i can avoid the adds. screw adds.

  • mmathieum

    Ad revenues?
    In-app billing revenues?
    Paid downloads?

    None of this information is publicly available.

    These reports are useless.

  • Decoi

    No one mentioned how some iTunes apps have to be purchased twice (standard and HD versions)? :P.