Download volume from Google Play was 60 per cent greater than Apple’s App Store during the second quarter of the year, driven by growth in emerging markets.
According to App Annie’s latest Market Index, growth in Brazil, Thailand and India contributed to Google Play’s lead growing from 45 per cent in the first quarter, and from 10 per cent a year ago.
But as has long been the case, Apple’s App Store continues to lead the way in terms of revenue, generating 80 per cent more revenue than its Google counterpart. However, the revenue gap appears to be narrowing as the App Store had a lead of 85 per cent in Q1.
India became the third biggest market for Google Play downloads during the period, climbing from fifth place in the previous quarter. The last time it was ranked this high was Q3 2013.
App Annie suggested that the large number of consumers switching from feature phones to smartphones in India is likely to have caused the increase in Google Play downloads.
IDC forecasts that smartphone penetration in the country will climb significantly from the current 10 per cent, as more lower-cost devices become available and vendors target less populated areas. Combined with strong Google Play downloads, this could see a rapid growth in mobile app-related revenue in India by 2017.
Brazil consolidated its position as a major contributor to Google Play downloads, becoming the fastest growing in terms of market share, solidifying its hold on the second place it landed during the previous quarter.
The football World Cup held in the country is likely to have fueled app downloads in the Sports category worldwide, which increased by 20 per cent during the quarter.
The five biggest markets for Google Play downloads globally were the US, Brazil, India, Russia and South Korea. Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam all experienced healthy download growth.
The top countries for App Store downloads remained unchanged, with the US leading China, Japan, UK and Australia.
Japan continued to stretch its revenue lead for both the App Store and Google Play, bolstered by the arrival of games such as Monster Strike and Disney Tsum Tsum. Games make up more than 90 per cent of combined App Store and Google Play revenue in Japan.
iOS revenue growth slowed in China after the first quarter, during which Apple struck a deal for China Mobile to offer the iPhone. However, App Store revenue continued to grow at a rate of 20 per cent between Q1 and Q2, making China the third biggest market.
With China Mobile rolling out 4G infrastructure and Apple expanding its retail presence, App Store revenue in China could soon rival that of the US and Japan. The three markets alone made up more than half of the revenue of Apple apps in the most recent quarter.
There was also revenue growth in smaller markets with Taiwan, Kuwait and Turkey each showing growth of more than 30 per cent between the first and second quarter of the year.
Taiwan re-entered the top five for Google Play revenue, having last been there in the third quarter of 2013. Taiwan joins South Korea in the top five while fellow Southeast Asian markets Hong Kong and Singapore are ranked in the top 12.
The top countries in terms of revenue for the App Store remained the US, Japan, China, UK and Australia. The markets generating the most revenue for Google Play were Japan, the US, South Korea, Germany and Taiwan.