App Annie’s Market Index for the first quarter of 2013 shows Google Play continuing to narrow iOS’ lead in app download volume and revenue creation. In fact, Google Play delivered nearly 90% Apple’s app download volume in Q1. The iOS platform is still generating 2.6 times the revenue of Google Play, but that gap is narrowing rapidly as well — in the previous quarter, iOS apps generated 4 times the revenue of Google Play.
The app market gap is closing at the same time that Samsung has managed to pull decisively ahead of Apple in smartphone shipment volume. At the end of 2011, both vendors were selling roughly the same amount of smartphones; by the end of 2012, Samsung had pulled far ahead. As the Android smartphone market has consolidated around Samsung, Google Play download volumes and revenue generation have soared.
America, Japan and United Kingdom continue to be the three biggest iOS app revenue generators. Despite Apple’s inability to close a deal with China Mobile, the world’s biggest mobile carrier, China has now become the fourth biggest market for iOS app revenue. In contrast, South Korea has now risen to become the second biggest Google Play app revenue generator, right after Japan. App developers from these two countries dominate the Google Play app sales charts — and now the duo is also dominating Google Play app demand.
Over the next few quarters, we will witness an interesting global clash as iOS-focused European and American app vendors face increasingly strong competition from Google Play-based Japanese and Korean app vendors. The iOS camp still has a stronger revenue base, but the battleground is becoming a bit more even with each passing month.