iphone android steve jobsGoogle Play is quickly catching up to Apple’s App Store, both in download numbers and in revenue.

In November 2012, Apple’s iOS App Store took in four times the revenue of Google Play. In the first quarter of 2013, iOS app revenue still led, but by a lower multiple: 2.6 times as much. And Google Play, once just a fraction of the iOS App Store’s size, now accounts for almost the same number of downloads.

Those are just a few of the insights from app analytics company App Annie’s latest market index, which also reveal the best locations and categories in which app developers can maximize revenue.

Google Play downloads catching up to iOS app store downloads

Above: Google Play downloads catching up to iOS app store downloads

Image Credit: App Annie

Apple’s App Store is still growing, and growing fast, with quarterly revenues up 25 percent. The difference is simply that Google Play is growing incredibly fast.

“While the iOS App Store and Google Play both had solid gains in app downloads last quarter, Google Play had a higher percentage growth rate as well as a greater gain in absolute downloads,” the report says. “From Q4 2012 to Q1 2013, iOS App Store quarterly revenue grew by roughly one ­quarter. Meanwhile, Google Play app revenue grew by roughly 90 percent.”

iOS App Store

Interestingly, in the iOS App Store, China was the leading contributor to Apple’s 25 percent growth rate in downloads; it hit the number two spot in downloads by country and the number four spot in terms of revenue by country:

Top countries by downloads     Top countries by revenues
  1. United States
  2. China
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Japan
  5. France
  1. United States
  2. Japan
  3. United Kingdom
  4. China
  5. Australia

Taken together, the UK, Japan, U.S., and China account for about half of all iOS downloads, App Annie says. And the U.S. and Japan account for half of all iOS revenue.

Top categories by downloads     Top categories by revenues
  1. Games
  2. Entertainment
  3. Photo & video
  4. Utilities
  5. Lifestyle
  1. Games
  2. Productivity
  3. Social networking
  4. Education
  5. Entertainment

Games drive about 40 percent of iOS App Store downloads, holding down the top spot, and 70 percent of revenue. Gainers in downloads include the photo and video category, which just broke into the top three this quarter, and gainers in revenue included the education category, which jumped a spot this quarter.

Google Play

The picture is considerably different for Google Play, where Russia, India, South Korea, and the U.S. drove 50 percent of all downloads. Russia has been rising steadily in the ranks, according to App Annie, as Android makes inroads there.

Top countries by downloads     Top countries by revenues
  1. United States
  2. South Korea
  3. India
  4. Russia
  5. Japan
  1. Japan
  2. South Korea
  3. United States
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Germany

And Asia owns Google Play in terms of revenue, with Japan moving ahead of the U.S. last quarter, and South Korea joining it this quarter. Those countries, with the U.S., represent a staggering 70 percent of all Google Play revenue, which is why Google Play’s top publishers by revenue read like a who’s-who of Japan and Korea.

Also interesting: In Japan, the games category accounts for over 90 percent of Google Play revenues. And in Korea, games is responsible for a massive 95 percent of income.

Top categories by downloads     Top categories by revenues
  1. Games
  2. Tools
  3. Entertainment
  4. Communication
  5. Social
  1. Games
  2. Communication
  3. Social
  4. Tools
  5. Productivity

In Google Play, games are about 40 percent of all downloads and account for 80 percent of all revenue. In other words, “Google Play” is very well named indeed.

With all that data taken into account, the perfectly optimized app for iOS revenue is a game targeted at the U.S. and UK, with Japan if possible. And the perfectly optimized app for Google Play revenue is also a game, but targeted at Japan and South Korea, with the U.S. and UK thrown in if possible.

Which gives app developers something to think about.

photo credit: Jesus Belzunce via photopin cc

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