Google Play and iOS are both growing, but its Apple that still has it where it counts — the bottom line.
When it comes to the raw number of downloads on a platform, Google Play is outperforming the iOS App Store, according to industry-tracking firm App Annie, but Apple’s mobile system is still making more money. In the last quarter, Google Play had 60 percent more downloads than Apple’s market. That’s up from 45 percent more last quarter. That growing margin didn’t really help Google Play catch up on the revenue side of things. The App Store still made 80 percent more revenue than Google Play. The big reasons for this are China and Japan — although this doesn’t reflect the full story for Android. Mobile-game spending reached $16 billion in 2013, and it is on pace to bring in even more this year.
Earlier this year, Apple came to a deal with China Mobile that enabled iOS to start making significant revenue in the country. That explosive growth is tapering off, but Chinese iOS revenues still grew by 20 percent from Q1 to Q2. That massive market is expected to generate a large amount of mobile spending in 2014, and the iOS App Store is capturing a lot of that.
“China is proving to be pivotal in Apple’s international growth strategy,” reads App Annie’s report. “In its Q2 2014 earnings call, Apple reported a records high revenue in China of almost $10 billion, inclusive of retail sales.”
This this growth, the U.S., Japan, and China now represent more than half of all spending on iOS. The same isn’t true for Google Play. That store doesn’t have a presence in China. While Android is making a lot of money in the nation, these streams come through proprietary app stores from other providers.
Japan is already the top nation for mobile gaming in terms of spending on iOS and Google Play, and it is growing faster than ever thanks to a handful of new games. The top-performing Puzzle & Dragons continues to generate significant revenue in Japan, while fresh puzzlers Monster Strike and Disney Tsum Tsum grew the market even further.
While Japan has traditionally skewed toward Android, Apple is catching up after it made a deal to sell the iPhone directly through the country’s big service provider NTT Docomo earlier this year. That played a big part in boosting Apple’s smartphone sales in Japan by 50 percent year-over-year in Q2. That has helped iOS maintain its revenue lead even as Google Play captures larger market share.