Google Play downloads race ahead of iOS, but Apple apps still generate more revenue

The Android-versus-iOS ecosysem battle continues, and Google Play is well ahead on downloads.

Google Play might be getting the lion's share of the app downloads, but Apple's app store is still way ahead on revenue.

While many smartphone apps might be rather trivial, they're an important element in making consumers loyal to one mobile platform.

Apple's app store has had a long headstart on Google Play, but the Android store has overtaken on downloads and has recently been getting closer on revenue too. This matters because developers will naturally favour the operating system that offers them the best return.

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In what app market data company App Annie described as "following a familiar script", Google Play downloads continued to accelerate ahead of iOS downloads in the second quarter of 2015 according to its data, thanks to smartphone ownership growth in emerging markets.

Google Play's worldwide downloads in the quarter were roughly 85 percent higher than those on the iOS App Store -- significantly up from the 70 percent gap in the first quarter of this year.

Emerging markets ­­including Brazil, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines underpinned the growth in Android downloads, on the back of an influx of "inexpensive ­yet ­capable" Android devices. But App Annie noted that as smartphone penetration remains below 30 percent there remains significant room for growth, which bodes well for Google Play's long­-term growth prospects.

But while Android's Google Play may have more downloads, Apple's app store generates more revenue: App Annie estimates it at 70 percent higher (as in the first quarter), as Apple grabs more of the big-spending premium market.

Much of this is apparently being fuelled by Apple's success in selling handsets in China, which is having positive impact on app downloads too: "iOS developers are reaping the benefits already", said App Annie, as China saw the biggest quarterly sequential gain in revenue share in the second quarter.

The quarter also saw strong growth in video streaming apps, driven by increased interest in the US and China.

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