Willingness to pay for apps isn't as wide a gap between Android and iOS anymore

Willingness to pay for apps isn't as wide a gap between Android and iOS anymore
It has been a longstanding stereotype that Android users don't like to pay for apps, and will more often than not opt to download free apps, while iOS users have pockets stuffed with cash that they just love tossing out to needy developers. Of course, those stereotypes held a lot more weight about 2 or 3 years ago, back when Androids were the cheap alternative to the expensive iPhone. Now, there are iPhones and Androids at every price point, and some Androids that are even more expensive than iPhones. 

And, if there's anything that can help to kill a blind stereotype, it's cold hard numbers. With that we bring you the results of a survey which was done by SwiftKey in partnership with the Pocket-lint and Mobile Nations websites. The survey covered 17,000 people and simply tried to find out how many apps people have actually paid for on their smartphones. 

According to the data, as of last year 39% of iPhone users had more than 20 paid apps, and only 3% didn't have any paid apps on their device. The numbers from this year show that just 26% of users have more than 20 paid apps, and 6% don't have any paid apps. Conversely on Android, users with more than 20 paid apps rose this year from 10% to 19%, while users with no paid apps dropped from 12% to 7%.

So, in one year, the number of users paying for a lot of apps on Android has nearly doubled, while users with no paid apps had been cut almost in half. While on iPhone, users with a lot of paid apps fell quite a bit, while users with no paid apps doubled. 

It's interesting to see. The only question we have is whether free apps with in-app purchases to unlock content were counted as paid or free apps. We've asked SwiftKey and are awaiting response.  SwiftKey responded to our question, and apparently it was left up to responders to make that distinction between a free app and one that became paid via in-app payments. The only questions asked were: "Approximately, how many free apps have you downloaded on your phone?" and "Approximately, how many paid apps have you bought on your phone?"

source: SwiftKey via Droid Life



1. Nookie4u

Posts: 133; Member since: Aug 13, 2012

Of course, now they all got premium apps on android and more users switch from iOS to android.

2. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

no doubt apps on ios USE to be better than on android but since early 2011 apps have been getting more polished and also more apps coming out on ios and android near enough same time,theres no reason not to actually buy,android has the premium games from rovio,ea,gameloft etc and new apps and old apps being updated are using the 4.0 design language which makes it worth paying for...dont think its about whether android people didnt like to pay,i think its always been that apps back then were not worth buying where as now apps deserve to get paid as they are being made with 100% effort and not just half baked apps...

5. wendygarett unregistered

I just downloaded horn and it cost me $7 And I'm satisfied it :)

42. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

How is Horn? It looks pretty good. What country are u from?

6. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

well this might actually be a message for devs, spend more time on android and you will get more moey

17. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

yeah this is actually good news. One of my biggest gripes with Android is the quality of their application store. If the devs take note of this and step it up, then things should change

28. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I personally see an increase of really nice and original apps lately, using the new gestures and the new android SDK, things are improving quite a lot, hopefully by next year quality of apps in average could be less of a problem

7. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Another Android vs. Apple myth is going away... Every time I turn around a myth is either gone or going away. On both sides. Which is a good thing. But good for Android since it seems to have so many negative myths compared to iOS, the iPhone.

9. elliott.helm

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

I think the stats are skewed considering all the sales the play store has where you can get apps for as low as .10 cents which is pretty much free

11. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

havent seen a paid app on play store for less than 99 cents yet

14. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

That's very possible, but in order for it to be significant enough to skew the survey, a lot of people have to have known about the discounts and I'm not sure if that's the case.

40. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

There's no sales like that right now is there? That was like couple months back....

10. joseph98

Posts: 167; Member since: Feb 03, 2012

I don't live in USA and I recall that when I was using the Symbian OS on my Nokia device, if I like an app in Nokia app store then I can purchase it and charge it to my phone carrier and billed later by the end of the month. Google only accept credit card which I don't have, so there is no other way for me to pay in Google apps store. I hope Google address this issue like Nokia did back then. Also I think the main problem is most Apple user are dumb rich who overpaid for there iPhone and they can careless if they spent more money on apps. I know apple fans will jump on me now. Go for it. Thumb me down. Who cares. Android will live and we the people will support it.

15. aokde

Posts: 186; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

I'm sorry thumbed you down by mistake. Thats the same reason for me not buying apps. If only google could charge me through my carrier i won't download any illegal apk, i will buy them all. Supporting the developers is a good thing for both sides.

33. Peter27

Posts: 233; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

The bottom part of your message has a very good point. Well spoted.

34. Peter27

Posts: 233; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

This reply was for Joseph.

13. aokde

Posts: 186; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

Thats the same reason for me not buying apps. If only google could charge me through my carrier i won't download any illegal apk, i will buy them all. Supporting the developers is a good thing for both sides.

30. phitch

Posts: 214; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

They do charge through carriers. It is just a matter of your carrier setting it up. I know I can charge to T-Mobile.

18. rusticguy

Posts: 2828; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

This can also mean that more and more iPhone users are shifting to Android phones ... it all depends on which way one were to0 interpret the results :)

19. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1260; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

I have purchased 130+ paid apps from Play store till now... I am using ZERO pirated apps in my android phones... That includes few paid apps that are just Ad-Free version of FREE apps (My phone is rooted ofcourse) just to support the developer... Yes, the willingness to support developer is gonna increase more when the play-store-card comes into effect (many are NOT willing to share their CreditCard details with Google or others)...

20. mrbtree

Posts: 59; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

and it all get easier to buy apps with those play store cards. bet apple will call foul and try to sue google.

21. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

That's because nobody likes adds.

23. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

And the best thing about the whole thing is the unprecedented growth of android. Right now the user base weighs around 500 million people - with almost 300 million activations just in 2012 so far. With the rate of adoption, odds are that in a year from now, Android user base could reach over a billion people!! It will pull in every developer in the world just by that fact alone. It's exactly what Eric Schmidt was talking about.

25. Aeires unregistered

Amazon app store included in this?

31. phitch

Posts: 214; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

No! Just play store.

27. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1175; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Very interesting how things are changing :) People are beginning to see just capable their Androids are and are spending time customizing and downloading apps, games, movies etc... to them, excellent stuff.

32. phitch

Posts: 214; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

I think the biggest plus side to Android and they really need to let people see this is that it can already do everything that WP7 and iOS can, and if you really like the way those UI's look -- you can get the same look in Android! With Android -- anything is possible.

35. Raymond_htc

Posts: 430; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

One sentence to describe why is there so many paid apps now- DEVELOPERS GETTING GREEDY.

36. x88yunkw

Posts: 132; Member since: Aug 20, 2012

same old design from 1st iphone to the 6th. not too userfriendly - bluetooth, itune no more dad of apple wonder hows the sales will be for iphone5. 20 millions s3 sold in 100 days, if s3 still unable to overtake, i believe s4 might be the winner.

37. The_Innovation

Posts: 648; Member since: Jul 18, 2012

The people were living under tyranny. Now that ICS and JB made Androids fully polished, more people are living in freedom.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.