Another January, another welter of statistics from Cupertino confirming what we already knew: that in the app marketplace, it’s a two-horse race with the rest of the field a long, long way back.
Apple has now passed the 40 billion cumulative download market, with nearly half that total coming in 2012 alone. The company also took the opportunity to announce that developers have received over $7 billion from iOS apps. Given that Apple’s revenue share is 70:30 in favour of the developer, it therefore does not require too much headscratching to calculate that Apple itself has picked up just over $3 billion from the arrangement, including around $1.5 billion in the last calendar year.
Meanwhile, Google Play is also believed to have had close to 20 billion downloads in 2012, suggesting that the two app store behemoths between them account for nearly three-quarters of global app downloads. Elsewhere, the Nokia Store, Blackberry App World and GetJar hold position and round out the top 5 app stores of 2012, with around nine billion downloads between them.
What this demonstrates – amongst other things – is the scale of the task facing Microsoft and Amazon (amongst others) as they try to vie with the app store giants. Both Apple and (fragmentation notwithstanding) Google can deliver immense scale, with audiences in the hundreds of millions (another Cupertino statistic: the App Store now has more than 500 million active accounts). Thus, to persuade top publishers/developers to provide content for alternative platforms, would-be competitors will essentially be obliged to “seed” the market by guaranteeing revenue rather than offering them a revenue share in the first instance.
Finally, speaking of monetisation, while App Store and Google Play are neck and neck in terms of downloads, for revenue generation it’s a different story. Here, Apple continues to lord it over its rival: Juniper estimates that no more than 3% of Google apps are paid for at the point of downloads, whereas with Apple the figure is closer to 10%, while iOS apps also see far higher revenues from freemium.