While it is no news that the Apple app store has the largest profit of the app stores, Google Play has more apps than all other markets combined, and in February 2016, the total number of apps hit 2 million on Google Play alone.
Now, 7 months later, another ~640,000 apps has been released on the world’s largest app market. Apple’s app store is following closely behind, just last month reaching 2 million apps themselves.
According to statistics by App Annie, a web service providing detailed statistics and data about all the app markets and applications listed there, iPhone apps are still earning more money than their Android counterparts, but within 4 years Google Play downloads are expected to more than triple, hitting 280 billions downloads, whereas Apple app store downloads are “only” expected to double.
Particularly in Asia, and South America the market is rapidly expanding, and China, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil as well as in particular India are some of the explosive forces behind the continuing growth of the app store. Coupled with the increase of available internet access and the cheaper cost of smartphones, it seems as a second surge is on the rise.
While the general consensus is that the Apple store still retains their number one position as leading revenue generator, one can only wonder whether the new markets are interested in paying for their apps, as well as purchasing the relatively expensive iPhones, or whether Google and Android will be winners with their cheaper phones and free applications attracting attention.
A leading european mobile development agency with distinguished clients such as Samsung, BMW, Unilever and more, weighs in with their observations.
We have interviewed Mark Pedersen, Digital Marketing Editor at Nodes, for his observations regarding the app industry and app stores in particular.
Q: How do you see the next year pan out in terms of new apps and growth overall?
A: We’ve been experiencing an increase in sales, leads and general interest since 2010, but especially the latest 9 months have been exceptional with more than 200% more sales than the previous 9 months. Overall we see no reason for this trend to stop anytime soon, especially since smartphones in Africa are only just beginning to take off.
Q: How would you compare Google Play store and Apple’s App store?
A: Overall, most businesses still develop apps for both stores, and especially in the western world, iOS and iPhone users are exceeding that of Android users. Both stores have been developing their products and service extremely well, and their competition seems to fuel both innovation and pricing levels. Depending on what type of app we develop, and to what geographical area the app is marketed, we advise our customers accordingly with regards to app store placement.
Q: Why is Google Play growing faster than the App store?
A: While we believe there are many factors to consider in this question, the main reason could be related to the developing markets in India and Asia in general. We’ve gotten a number of requests from asian enterprises concerning app releases geo-targeted to their region, and we can almost feel the same level of excitement coming from these clients, as we felt back in the day when Angry Bird’s was all the rage, and everybody in the western part of the world wanted a bite of the app craze. So to sum it up, it might very well be due to an eastern boom in smartphone usage and thus, mobile applications.
Q: Can you give an example of the so called Asian App Craze?
A: Sure, if you take a look at the top 20 app publishers on Apple’s App store for instance, a few years ago there were no Chinese or Asian developers to speak of. These days there are 6 major chinese publishers in the top 20, including the largest app developer of them all, Tencent. The fact that 2 or 3 years can bring about this much change indicates to me a rapid growth of app development in Asia and India, and once South America and Africa reaches a saturation of smartphone users, we expect to see less than 5 european and american app developers in the top 20 list on both Apple’s and Google’s stores.