Google’s Android market may not make as much money as iOS, but its download numbers are increasing faster than Apple’s.
In 2014, Google Play had 60-percent more downloads worldwide than the iOS App Store, according to data-tracking App Annie’s latest report. Android more than doubled its lead over Apple’s mobile operating system. This is primarily due to the wide range of Android devices that appeal to every budget in markets around the world. While this is good news for Google, the growing lead in terms of downloads did not help it close the revenues gaps.
App Annie’s chart shows how Google is outpacing Apple:
While Google is pulling away in terms of downloads, revenues are growing at a nearly identical rate on both platforms. But that’s bad news for Android considering it is already so far behind.
“iOS maintained its large advantage in monetization by generating over 70% more yearly app revenue than Google Play,” reads App Annie’s report. “However, both stores experienced strong revenue growth in 2014.”
You can see in the chart above that both iOS and Android had strong years in terms of money. That was thanks to huge free-to-play games like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans, which have made hundreds of millions of dollars on each mobile OS.
“Against seemingly all market share odds, Apple has maintained its ability to provide a platform that monetizes better than Google’s,” says VB Insight’s John Koetsier. “A huge part of that is very simple: Apple sells its devices to people who buy stuff.”
If you’re looking for an explanation as to how Android could have such a significant downloads lead without making a dent in revenues, it comes down to two things. First, Apple has a much longer history of collecting and keeping credit-card information. It started more than a decade ago with iTunes for music. Second, much of Android’s download growth comes from free-to-play games like Flappy Bird and other apps like it. These simple, quick games don’t make much (if any) money from in-app purchases.
But this news is good for both Apple and Google. Developers used to look at Android and think it was impossible to make money. That’s not the case anymore even if iOS is still much more lucrative.