Game of Phones: Apple keeps app revenue edge even before next-gen iPhone launch

Apple 2012 App Sales App Annie

Among professional app developers, App Annie is often cited as one of the most reliable sources of market statistics. App Annie’s most recent info dump is a fascinating snapshot of the state of the industry on the eve of the next-generation iPhone launch.

  • Year to date, both iOS and Google Play deliver 14% annualized app revenue growth. Arguably, this is a big win for Apple, which is months away from launching the “iPhone 5.” According to comScore, Android phones grabbed 50.8% of U.S. mobile subscriber share in April, up 2.2 percentage points since January. Apple’s share climbed 1.9 points to 31.4%. Google holds a device growth edge in markets from Latin America to Europe, yet despite the Android device share increase in a range of major markets, Google was unable to narrow Apple’s global lead in app revenue generation during the first half of 2012.
  • App Annie estimates that Apple’s app revenue edge over Google is 71% to 29% worldwide. You might expect that Google would have been able to deliver at least a touch faster app revenue growth in the first half due to Samsung’s powerful new product roll-outs during the period. It did not happen. The next-generation iPhone debut will most likely give Apple a burst of app sales growth this fall.
  • Apple has a clear edge in Asia. China and Japan are No.1 and No.3 download markets for iOS. Google has a more European flavor, with the U.K. and Germany as No.2 and No.3 markets. It’s hard to avoid the notion that China is a better market to have as a second growth engine than Germany.
  • Latin America may well be Google’s ace in the hole. It is clocking torrid 88% app revenue growth in Brazil, the LatAm bellwether market. Apple’s growth engines are Japan and Russia — with far more moderate 22% and 17% growth rates. A cursory look at Brazilian smartphone websites reveals formidable Android momentum: a wide selection of Samsung, LG and Motorola models retailing for under 500 reals have demolished the pricey BlackBerry range and are undercutting Nokia quite effectively. Apple’s current iPhone pricing is handing Google a delicious continent on a platter.

The autumn numbers following the sixth-generation iPhone launch are going to be extremely interesting to see. The global app market hangs in balance. Apple and Google growth rates in the U.S. are very close, Google holds the edge in Europe and LatAm, and Apple is on a tear in Asia.

App Annie’s infographic follows below.

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