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Google Play vs Apple App Store: Who won 2015?

Apple's App Store generated 75 per cent more revenue than Google Play in 2015, but the latter is now responsible for 100 per cent more downloads, according to a new report on the state of the app ecosystem in 2015 by App Annie. Both numbers are higher compared to the previous year.

App Store has increased its revenue lead from 70 per cent in 2014, while Google Play saw its downloads lead rise from 60 per cent in the same year. The most important markets were, in Apple's case, China, US and Japan, while for Google the drivers were Brazil, India, Indonesia and Mexico.

As you might have noticed, Google Play has increased its lead over App Store thanks to downloads from emerging markets, where an increasing number of consumers are purchasing smartphones. Typically, more affordable devices - which are largely powered by Android - are proving to be the most popular with shoppers, which helps explain how Google Play has managed this kind of performance.

Meanwhile, the three aforementioned markets that helped App Store contributed by nearly 90 per cent to the revenue growth year-over-year. China is one of the most-important markets for Apple, surpassing US in terms of downloads and generating twice as much revenue compared to 2014. The company has the larger iPhones to thank for this performance. China is the third market in terms of revenue for Apple, behind US and Japan.

The vast majority of the generated revenue, in the case of both app stores, comes from games, which are responsible for 90 per cent of the revenue generated on Google Play and 75 per cent when it comes to App Store.

In US, Google Play downloads surpassed App Store downloads for the first time in 2015, with its share rising to 55 per cent from 45 per cent a year prior. The opposite can be said about revenue, where App Store continues to hold a very comfortable lead over Google Play.

"There is still significant room for growth in the mobile app economy", notes App Annie in the report. "Device penetration remains relatively low in a number of emerging markets, and future increases are likely to bolster download growth. Store revenue will continue to grow as audiences broaden and monetisation options such as in-app subscriptions gain further traction in the coming year".

Here are some other interesting findings in the report. When looking at ridesharing and taxi apps, App Annie says that usage has exploded across the globe, with a significant number of iOS and Android users using such offerings. Monetisation from dating apps is now also worth mentioning, with Tinder being singled out in this category.

Video streaming apps are generating more revenue in major markets such as US, China and UK, while leading music streaming apps saw more than double the revenue in 2015 compared to the year prior.

If you want to learn more, check out the report here. It has to be said that App Annie completely ignores Windows Store in its analysis.

Photo Credit: Pieter Beens /