Outside of China, Apple and Google control more than 95 percent of the app store market share, through iOS and Android, respectively. Both mobile OSes originally came with a few pre-installed apps, but quickly added third-party developers to improve the experience.
Within a year of both being available, tens of thousands of developers were building apps and games for the platforms. In less than five years, both Apple and Google had over one millions apps and games available, which generated millions in app revenue for both companies.
Apple and Google have both, for the past three years, started adding more barriers to entry for developers. They have also purged millions of apps from their respective stores, in an attempt to improve quality across the ecosystem.
As Android is unavailable in China, several app stores have sprung up in the country, which include MyApp by Tencent, Huawei App Market, OPPO software store and a few others. Apple is able to continue to operate in China with its app store, although the Chinese government regularly sweep the store to remove apps and games.
We have collected data on the two main app stores in the West, Apple and Google Play, read on below to find out more.
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Apple App Store Statistics
Originally Steve Jobs did not see the iPhone as this ecosystem for third-party apps, the first App Store launched a year after the iPhone announcement, with 500 applications available. It has since grown to be the largest revenue generating store, even with iPhone only controlling 15 percent of the global smartphone market.
Number of Apps and Games in the Apple App Store
|Year||Apple Store Apps and Games|
Apple has shown positive growth every year, even though it removes hundreds of thousands of apps and games every year as part of its focus on quality control and serviceability on all new devices. Part of the reason for Apple’s lead in total apps and games is the App Store’s availability in China, which is responsible for about 40 percent of all app spending.
Number of Apps in the Apple App Store
|Year||Apple Store Apps|
Number of Games in the Apple App Store
|Year||Apple Store Games|
As Apple’s largest regions are North America, China and Japan, it makes sense that more games would be available on the platform in comparison to the Google Play Store. Apple’s App Store is made up of a higher percentage of games, as we’ll cover in the next graph.
Most Popular App Categories in the Apple Store (Percent of Total)
|Category||Percentage of App Store|
|Travel & Local||3.80%|
|Food & Drink||3.57%|
|Health & Fitness||3.41%|
|Music & Audio||2.32%|
|Photo & Video||2.06%|
Games make up a significant portion of the Apple App Store, which is not surprising as Apple’s key markets are: North America, China and Japan, which are known for higher mobile game usage. Education has risen in the past year, as schools around the world have had to move teaching online.
Paid vs Free Apps in Apple App Store
Apple has a larger percentage of apps which are paid for, although both are below 10 percent of the entire store. As many app developers have found out, only a small subsection of smartphone owners are willing to pay for apps, although this does increase dramatically for certain niches, like photography and video editing.
Average App Price in the Apple App Store
|App Type||Average Price|
Apps are priced slightly higher than games on Apple’s App Store, which is too be expected as professional apps can cost far more than high-end games. In comparison to the Google Play Store, Apple’s App Store sells apps and games at a slightly lower price on average.
Google Play App Store Statistics
About four months after Apple launched its App Store, Google followed with the Android Market. It has since been rebranded to the Google Play Store, which is available in every country apart from China. In China, Tencent, Huawei, Oppo and a few other platforms offer their own app stores, which all run on Android.
Number of Apps and Games in the Google Play Store
|Year||Google Play Apps and Games|
Google has spent the past two years cleaning up the Google Play App Store, removing hundreds of thousands of apps which are either incompatible or low quality. As Android is far more fragmented than iOS, third-party devices may run older versions of the software, although Google has been working hard with OEMs to improve update speed.
Number of Apps in the Google Play Store
|Year||Google Play Apps|
Apps on Google Play make far less revenue in comparison to Apple’s App Store, partly due to the regions Android holds the most market share. It held a similar amount of apps to Apple’s App Store in 2018, but content moderation has led to far fewer apps getting accepted onto the store in recent years.
Number of Games in the Google Play Store
|Year||Google Play Games|
Most Popular App Categories in the Google Play Store
|Category||Percentage of App Store|
|Music & Audio||5.50%|
|Food & Drink||3.61%|
|Health & Fitness||3.53%|
|Travel & Local||3.13%|
Games make up a far lower percentage of the Google Play store, however outside of that, both look very similar. Business and education are high up on the list for both. Direct comparisons are not perfect as the two stores have slightly different categorisation systems for apps.
Paid vs Free Apps in the Google Play Store
A greater percentage of the Google Play Store is free, which is to be expected as Android’s key demographics are lower-income than the average iPhone owner. In countries like Brazil, India and Spain, the likelihood of a user spending money on an app is far lower than in countries where the iPhone is more successful, such as the United States and Japan.
Average App Price in the Google Play Store
|App Type||Average App Price|
Even though less of the Google Play Store is made up of paid apps, the average cost is higher for both apps and games, in comparison to the Apple App Store. This could be due to lower-end games, which sell for less than $1 on the Apple App Store, running a freemium model on Google Play Store or avoiding the store altogether.