Accepted wisdom and research tells us that iOS makes more money than Google Play, despite Google Play having more downloads. Nobody would argue with that. But what about iOS vs Android at a global level? Include the massive Chinese Android app stores, and Android didn’t just dominate download volumes, it made more money than iOS last year.
Apple and Google dominate app store downloads in most markets, but many folks outside China aren’t familiar with the dynamics of that amazing market. So it’s not surprising that mind share since 2007 has been mainly about the differences between iOS and Google Play, with the occasional nod to Amazon, Microsoft and others.
Apple and Google took very different approaches to China. Apple embraced China with spectacular success, but Google ultimately exited. Together with China’s inherent strengths and business dynamics, the Chinese app ecosystem now looks fundamentally different to all other markets. There are not just two dominant app stores, but five major groups (and other smaller ones). Baidu, Apple, Qihoo 360, Tencent, Wandoujia (and others) compete for the largest download market in the world. The competition in China puts both iOS and Google Play in the minority of app downloads globally, as you can see in the chart below and download volume shares here.