Google Play is the king of app stores, nabbing the most downloads during the first quarter of the year, but Apple's iOS App Store still makes more money, according to a new report from analytics firm App Annie.
Worldwide downloads from Google Play exceeded iOS App Store downloads by around 45 per cent from January to March, up from 35 per cent in the previous quarter, the firm said. But when it comes to revenue, the iOS App Store remained "comfortably ahead" raking in 85 per cent more money than Google Play.
Even so, the revenue gap between the rival app stores narrowed as Google Play revenue "increased markedly" in the US and the UK. Emerging markets like Russia, Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey were largely responsible for the uptick in Google Play downloads. Meanwhile, China was the primary market for App Store growth, posting major gains in both downloads and revenue.
"[The] iOS App Store revenue in China grew around 70 percent quarter over quarter," App Annie said in the report.
It's no surprise that games drove the most growth in both stores, accounting for 75 per cent of revenue for the App Store and 90 per cent on Google Play. But users are also increasingly shelling out money for less exciting apps, like security and finance tools, according to the report. In Google Play, anti-virus apps saw a revenue boost during the quarter while finance programs got a lift among iOS users during tax season in the US.
Messaging apps also "remained a huge growth area," contributing to gains in Google Play and the App Store following Facebook's $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp.
App Annie's report only includes data for the iOS App Store and Google Play, and does not provide estimates for the Amazon Appstore or any others. The iOS App Store and Google Play represent a "significant portion" of the app market in many countries, with one exception being China, where a number of third-party Android app stores are popular.