New Report Shows Android App Development pays Almost as Much as iOS

November 27, 2013 - Written By Ryan Joseph

This topic has been discussed at great lengths by so many people, that it almost feels commonplace. There are some notions that (true or not) have become very cemented in our minds and the minds of potential app developers. Notions about how to make the most money from your new app, and which mobile platform is best for earning a living.

The longstanding idea is that iOS users spend more money than Android users and that Android users are cheap. That ideal has been repeated so often by tech pundits that it feels very much like an accepted fact at this point.

But is it true? Well, according to a new report, yes it is true, but not by much. This new report comes from BI Intelligence and the full report can only be viewed by paying $399 for access to the library, though a free trial is available. But some data is available from the report, which shows that while iOS does still pay more, the gap is closing very quickly.

In one section of the report, it shows average developer revenue per month. iOS leads the pack with $5200, while Android pulls a close second at $4700. Windows Phone and HTML5 web apps are next, followed by poor BlackBerry 10 with only $1200. These are averages, of course, and not what every developer earns.

Android vs iOS revenue chart

Some developers have openly admitted to earning more on Android than iOS, including Shifty Jelly, makers of the popular Pocket Casts app. In a blog post from February, 2013, they say that Android sales of their app outpace iOS sales 5 to 1. Sadly, this isn’t the norm, as the report continues:

When taking into account commerce, advertising, developer fees and app revenue, Android has nearly closed the monetization gap with Apple’s iOS operating system. Android developers worldwide earn 90 cents for every 1$ earned by iOS developers, according to the latest data.

It’s also worth pointing out that app piracy is considerably easier on Android than on iOS, though Google has taken and continues to take steps to address this. The ease of app piracy is what has led many apps to adopt in-app purchases, which are much harder to pirate.

There are a number of other interesting things from the report, including a note that Android runs on 80% of smartphones globally, and yet iOS app sales still outpace it on average, even if only by a little bit.

As long as the gap between the two platforms continues to shrink, we will likely see more and more developers choosing Android first.