Google Play exceeded Apple’s App Store by 45 per cent in terms of downloads in the first quarter of 2014, but continued to lag behind in terms of revenue, according to the latest figures from App Annie.
The download lead held by Google Play was 35 per cent at the end of the previous quarter. The growth was driven by emerging markets such as Russia and Brazil, with Mexico and Turkey becoming more significant.
Mexico saw a 75 per cent increase in smartphone adoption in 2013, according to IDC, and is forecast to grow a further 40 per cent this year. More than 65 per cent of the new smartphones sold in Mexico in 2013 ran Android.
In Turkey, IDC expects the adoption of smartphones and tablets to be the main drivers in an expected 9 per cent increase in IT spending in 2014.
The App Store generated around 85 per cent more revenue than Google Play in Q1, although the gap narrowed due to an increase in the global installed base of Android and a marked rise in Google Play revenue in the US and UK.
The US saw a 55 per cent rise in Google Play revenue quarter-on-quarter, while for the UK the figure was 35 per cent.
China was a major growth market for the App Store, with sizeable gains in both downloads and revenue. App Store revenue grew by around 70 per cent in China during the most recent quarter alone while there was also impressive growth in smaller markets such as Vietnam and South Africa.
As has been the case for some time, the games category drove growth in Google Play and App Store, but other categories also saw significant revenue growth, including tools (antivirus and security apps) in Google Play and finance in the App Store — largely driven by the US tax season.
The top five countries for Google Play downloads in Q1 were once again topped by the US, while Brazil rose a place to second and Russia jumped two places to sit at number three. The progress of Brazil and Russia came at the expense of South Korea, which fell two places to fourth spot, and India, which fell one place, to fifth.
Japan continued to lead the way in terms of Google Play revenue, although the US leapfrogged South Korea for second place. Germany remained fourth, just ahead of the UK.
The top five markets in both downloads and revenue for the App Store remained stable compared to the final quarter of 2013, with the US topping both lists.