Over the years, a lot of fights have erupted on tech forums and in real life about people's mobile platforms of choice. While Android users have always been able to boast about sky-high market shares, Apple users have always looked to respond back by saying that Android is an unprofitable platform for developers.
Now, a research by advisory firm Digi-Capital into the market dynamics of these two major mobile eco-systems have looked to set the record straight. The report spells out in no uncertain terms, that Android enjoys leadership position not only in terms of usage and app downloads, but also in terms of overall revenue generated. To come to this conclusion, Digi-Capital says that their report took into account not only Google Android and its official Play Store, but the entire AOSP Android eco-system including all the major app stores operating out of China, including Baidu, Qihoo 360, Tencent etc. Doing so, the combined revenues of all Android eco-systems surpassed iOS revenues for the first time in 2014, according to the data.
What this study now shows, is that neither iOS nor Google Play can claim to be the largest eco-system for apps in terms of total number of downloads. That honor comfortably goes to the Chinese apps stores. Having said that though, Apple still generates more revenue per download and is still the single largest overall platform anywhere, in terms of earnings. But all Android app stores together, do trump iOS in combined revenues.
The report also points out something that has long been discussed; that developers on Google Play require many more downloads to generate the same amount of revenue, compared to Apple's iOS. The study says, that it's exactly twice as many downloads on Google Play and eight times as many on the Chinese app stores to be precise. According to Mr. Tim Merel, Managing Director at Digi-Capital, "the long-term trend of lower revenue value per download compared to iOS seems set to continue". The report also ends with a caution for Android OEMs. It says that the balance between Android and iOS might shift by the end of the year, given how well Apple has performed in China with their large screen offerings as of late. It is worth noting here, that Apple is the second largest smartphone brand in a highly fragmented and competitive Chinese market.