The new Distimo report on mobile app spending patterns offers some interesting regional tidbits. Globally, Google Play continues steadily chipping away at the huge lead Apple has built in mobile app revenue generation. In April 2013, the Google Play vs. iOS app revenue balance stood at 27% to 73%. One year earlier, it was 19% to 81%. There is still a long way to go before we see a 50/50 split, but it’s now looking as though Google might get there in a couple of years. However, in certain major mobile markets, Google has already caught up with Apple. Perhaps the most fascinating set of figures concerns WhatsApp.
In the U.S. market in April, WhatsApp racked up $355,000 from Apple’s App Store — and just $41,000 from Google Play. The size of the gap is pretty stunning. But so is the fact that WhatsApp may be grossing less than half a million per month in the biggest app market in the world. This would be just 2% of what certain leading game app vendors are grossing in America on a monthly basis; a good reason for WhatsApp to think long and hard about a game module clip-on.
But the contrast to major European markets is the real jaw-dropped here. WhatsApp made $290,000 in Germany from Google Play and just $207,000 from the App Store. Who knew that the German app market generates as much revenue for the leading messaging app as the United States? And who knew that Google had already passed Apple in Europe’s largest smartphone market when it comes to WhatsApp sales? In Spain, the situation is even more drastic; WhatsApp gets nearly 90% of its revenue from Google Play.
One takeaway here is that app vendors may have to think about prioritizing Google Play as a platform in many European markets, even though iOS still reigns supreme in markets like the U.S. and the U.K. The size of the German market is pretty eye-popping; for certain kinds of applications it’s not clear that America is the biggest or the best market to target for initial rollouts.