Despite a huge jump in Android app downloads from Google Play fueled by the company's expansion into developing markets, Apple's iOS App Store continues to bring in more money and has actually increased its lead in profitability over Android's official store.
According to a report by mobile marketer App Annie, in 2015 Google began servicing twice as many app downloads as the iOS App Store, but that hasn't translated into greater earning power. Despite all those downloads, iOS now earns 75 percent more, an increase over Apple's 2014 lead of 70 percent greater trackable revenues than Google Play.
"While Android is making inroads on Apple's U.S. market share [among trackable app downloads], its revenue lags," the report noted. "Google must continue to evolve its strategy to help drive more revenue for its developers; that said, Android market share needs to grow at the high end of the smartphone market to meaningfully drive more revenue share."
App Annie download statistics only pertain to apps the company can track, so downloads of Apple's own first party apps (such as Keynote, Garage Band, iTunes U and Apple Music) don't appear, and neither do bundled apps such as Maps, News and Wallet.
"App Annie is used by more than 1 million apps to track their performance," the company's report states, "and now has over 500,000 registered members — including 94 of the top 100 publishers."
That makes it difficult to make direct comparisons between the two platforms in overall download counts, but it does show that among monetized apps tracked by advertisers, iOS is earning far more money for developers than Android is, despite the fact that much of Android's apps are free/ad supported titles that Google cultivates, because it is primarily an advertising company.
App Annie's figures for the top ten music streaming apps doesn't even mention Apple Music, for example, despite the new service pulling in ten million paid subscribers and likely many times more that in app downloads.
Conversely, in App Annie's rankings of top apps by platform, YouTube is the third most popular app listed for iOS, but doesn't even show up in Android's top ten because it's included with Android.
App Annie also reports no data for Google Play in China because Google has virtually no presence there. On the other hand, Apple's app revenue China (related to the titles App Annie can track) has doubled, making China Apple's third largest App Store market, and "within striking distance" of displacing Japan for second place. In app download counts, China has surpassed the U.S. to now be first.
In addition to earning more for app developers, Apple's platform also represents most of the online orders made from mobile devices. Custora noted over the holidays that iOS accounted for 78 percent of mobile sales last fall.