Despite the fact that Google’s Android operating system has outsold devices running Apple’s iOS for some time, now, it hasn’t come close in terms of paying app revenue to developers (that is, revenue made from sales of paid apps, or free apps with in-app purchases, as opposed to revenue coming from ad-supported free applications). That’s all starting to change.
In most countries around the world, Apple still leads in terms of direct revenues. Asia, however, is bucking the trend in a big way. In South Korea, home of Samsung and its Galaxy line of Android smartphones (as well as LG) has seen 759% increases in year-over-year growth for revenues coming from Google Play. As a result, more than three-quarters of combined Android/iOS revenue comes from the Google Play store.
Japan has seen nearly 250% growth, resulting in Android taking over half of combined revenues, and China has experienced an estimated 280% growth – but it’s hard to compare revenues for Android and iOS in the country, as there are multiple competing app stores running on Android there, not just Google Play.
That’s stunning growth. And it doesn’t end there.
Last November, the top 200 apps in Apple’s App Store grossed a combined daily total of $15 million for the month. This November, that number rose to $18 million – a respectable 20% YOY growth. Google Play’s top 200 apps, meanwhile, only grossed around $3.5 million each day in November 2012. This year, however, they managed to bring in a whopping $12 million per day, which is a 343% growth over the same period a year previously.
As the headline gave away, you can thank Mobile Gaming for much of the growth in both app stores, and more than that, the trend towards free-to-play, or so-called ‘freemium’ titles helped. These apps are free to download and install, but offer in-app purchases that can extend, enhance, or speed up the gameplay.
Distimo reported that the ratio of paid vs free-to-play also varies depending on type of software (e.g., Games vs. Productivity) as well as region. Given the recent surge in freemium apps, the fact that Android users are more likely to download a free app and purchase an in-app item than buy a similar app outright, and (sorry, bear with me) the fact that in-app purchases are more popular in countries like Japan, may go some way to explaining the rampant growth Android has experienced in southeast Asia over the past year.
Western countries like the U.S. are still overwhelmingly interested in free apps with in-app purchases, but not quite to the same extent.