The first quarter of 2015 saw Apple’s App Store extend its lead over Google Play in terms of app revenue, while Google Play boosted its number one position in terms of downloads – a slightly different picture to what had been seen previously.
According to a new report from App Annie, over the past several quarters iOS’ lead in revenue terms had been “sizeable but shrinking”. But in Q1 2015, App Store revenue was “about 70 per cent higher” than Google Play, compared with 60 per cent in Q3 2014.
When looking at downloads, Google Play’s worldwide share was approximately 70 per cent higher than the App Store in Q1 2015, compared with 60 per cent in Q3 2014. But in this case, the growth is the continuation of the earlier trend.
Google’s download strength was primarily driven by emerging markets like Mexico, Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia. “As the population of first time smartphone buyers in these countries reaches critical mass, the Android ecosystem is likely to be a major beneficiary,” App Annie wrote.
The revenue performance for Apple’s App Store continues to be buoyed by two core markets – China and the US. “In stark contrast with Google Play, growth on iOS seems to be a function of more established markets,” the analytics firm noted.
China strong for Apple, Mexico growing for Google
Significantly, Q1 2015 saw iOS downloads in China overtake those in the US, which may in part have been a result of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch. China’s growth was primarily driven by downloads of games and photo & video apps.
But while the market saw strong growth in terms of revenue, the US continued to lead for Apple in terms of revenue.
For Google Play, it was “Mexico that stole the show” during the quarter. While games as ever played an important role, App Annie also noted strength in the Tools category, which was “particularly interesting because of the diversity of leading apps”.
Performing well were security apps and keyboard replacements, with 360 Mobile Security cited in the former category, and GO Keyboard and Lazy Swipe named in the latter.
Mexico has now overtaken South Korea to rank as a top five market by quarterly Google Play downloads, which is “impressive because South Korea is considered to be an app store superpower and a stronghold for Android OEMs”.