Android app store spend will top Apple's in 2017: App Annie

However, App Annie's estimates include third party app stores in addition to Google Play, which tips the scales somewhat unevenly in Android's favor.

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Google's Android operating system will lead Apple's iOS in terms of user spending on apps and subscriptions this year, according to a new report from mobile analytics firm App Annie.

The report, released Wednesday, predicts that Android users will spend $41 billion on mobile apps in 2017 while iOS users will spend $40 billion. However, App Annie's estimates include third party app stores in addition to Google Play, which tips the scales somewhat unevenly in Android's favor.

When matched against Google Play alone, Apple's app store, with its comparatively affluent customer base, is expected to maintain its lead through 2021 with more than $60 billion in gross consumer spend, says the report. Last year, Apple's App Store racked up $34 billion in sales, while Android apps collected $27 billion.

In big-picture terms, App Annie expects worldwide mobile app downloads to surpass 352 billion in 2021, with gross consumer spend across all app stores to surpass $139 billion.

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The top five countries by downloads -- China, India, US, Brazil, and Indonesia -- represented around 75 percent of the global revenue in 2016. App Annie expects the share to increase to 85 percent in 2021. The reports attributes the shift to increased spending on games and subscriptions from existing smartphone users in mature markets, primarily urban China, but also the US, Japan, and South Korea.

China's smart phone adoption is reaching saturation, but App Annie says much of the region is still underpenetrated, which will support growing smartphone adoption and growth in app downloads over the forecast period. App Annie expects downloads in China will grow at an annualized rate of 19 percent through 2021, while consumer spend will increase 24 percent to $56.5 billion.

Apple market share in China slips for first time: IDC:

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