Apple continues to keep Google at bay in global app revenue, but the gap is slowly closing

Apple continues to keep Google at bay in global app revenue, but the gap is slowly closing
Sensor Tower's latest in-depth analysis of global mobile app revenue and download figures is out, and many of the conclusions are wholly unsurprising, confirming the same old trend. While Google's Play Store continues to hold a massive advantage over Apple's App Store in terms of the number of apps installed for the first time by its users, the Cupertino-based tech giant still reigns supreme when it comes to actual financial gains.

According to the newest estimates, the iOS App Store generated a whopping $25.5 billion in revenue during the first half of 2019, up from $22.6 billion between January and June 2018, while Android users only spent $14.2 billion over the first six months of this year, which also represented a healthy increase from $11.8 billion in H1 2018. All in all, global app revenue jumped from $34.4 billion to $39.7 billion year-on-year, with the App Store accounting for a dominant 64 percent slice of the pie.


That towering number is even more impressive when you take into consideration that the App Store accounted for only 14.8 billion of the 56.7 billion overall first-time app downloads estimated for the H1 2019 timeframe. That means Apple made 80 percent more money than Google despite the Play Store racking up almost thrice as many first-time app installs. Believe it or not, the revenue gap could have been even larger and actually was larger in 2018

At the same time, it's definitely worth highlighting that Q1 2019 was the first-ever quarter when iOS downloads declined year-on-year due primarily to a "downturn in China." While App Store installs bounced back during Q2, the growth was not big enough to offset the previous quarter's loss. Naturally, Apple is far more interested in making money than boosting download scores, but this can't be viewed as a particularly encouraging trend.


As far as the most profitable apps across both mobile platforms go, Tinder continues to top the charts, followed by Netflix, China's Tencent Video service, iQiyi (?!), and YouTube. Meanwhile, the newest list of the world's biggest game earners is headlined by Tencent's Honor of Kings, followed by Fate/Grand Order from Sony, Monster Strike, Candy Crush Saga, and PUBG Mobile.

Unsurprisingly, the App Store generated far more revenue than Google Play from games as well, but the latter's numbers grew by 16.8 percent to $12 billion, while Apple reached $17.6 billion after a much humbler 7.8 percent year-on-year progress.

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24 Comments

1. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Apple is in a good position when it comes to user base. Small marketshare but able to buy apps and renew iphones every September. When new services comes, its gonna be hard to get out of the ecosystem. Happy and satisfied apple costumers as always.

14. ph00ny

Posts: 2026; Member since: May 26, 2011

Obviously you missed the note where more folks are holding onto their iphones longer. Even Tim Cook have said as much

19. lyndon420

Posts: 6737; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

Most of the apps that people use across any platform are free (FB Twitter WhatsApp etc). Exactly what apps are being purchased on the app store that are contributing so much to apples revenue? Games for children??

20. mackan84

Posts: 375; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Here in Sweden it’s a mix of drivers license training apps, newborn baby apps, photo editing and games. According to my iPhone

3. cmdacos

Posts: 4106; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

'Global' China not included for Google. Google isn't as willing to hand over data control to the Chinese government as easily as Apple did.

5. mackan84

Posts: 375; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

“most profitable apps across both mobile platforms go, Tinder continues to top the charts, followed by Netflix, China's Tencent Video service, iQiyi (?!), and YouTube”

7. mackan84

Posts: 375; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Disregard my comments, have bought tens of phones from China and all of them had google play so didn’t figure it was a problem. Only that googles search engine was banned which is the biggest loss for them. But anyhow to bad for them. Don’t know why google don’t hand over a business plan for them where they reap the 30% profit and it can’t touch anything outside of borders like Apple. It’s chinese laws. Read everywhere just now how Google has tried to get approved ever since 2010 with everything from search, maps and apps... Just program a whole new google play and fork it over to China and take 30%. They have the resources.

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7212; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Since December, Apple hasn't made one dime from Netflix, especially when the iOS Netflix app only allows customers to sign into their existing Netflix account. Netflix removed anything and everything to do with any subscriptions, or monetization from their iOS app. If Netflix didn't remove all that information, then the Netflix app would be in violation of Apple's app store rules, and the app would never make it on Apple's app store. The court cases are still going on with Apple's monopolistic ways. But the outcome from theses will dictate in the future Apple, how much they will still be able to make from their app store. Can't wait to see that outcome.

15. mackan84

Posts: 375; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Stop repeating yourself cuz you might get stuck... In all honestly who gives a s*it. Look at the numbers, they are crazy no matter what company you look at. And just a reminder; 10-12% marketshare. Don’t say it to hurt your feelings but that’s apples piece of the pie and they’ll use that argument and they have money running out of their noses. They’ll just pay the right people or keep postponing the court dates until other, bigger problems shadows it. Why even care, both are winners and neither of them are losers. Twist and turn it how much you want to but both are WINNERS!

6. strawberry

Posts: 92; Member since: Feb 20, 2019

does android users generally buy apps?

9. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Certainly NO. They always cling for free apps and free stuffs.

13. sgodsell

Posts: 7212; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

They do, but Android users have multiple app store options, and are not FORCED to use Google's monetization methods. Where as Apple's app store developers are FORCED to use Apple's monetization methods if they want to make any money. It will be interesting to see the outcome from the court cases against Apple and their monopolistic controlling ways.

17. mackan84

Posts: 375; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Sorry I have to annoy you for one second... But look at the last graph; 42 billion downloads on google play vs 15 billion on app store. Math. Be humble and just say that Android is better because they actually offer smartphones for people that are less fortunate and less spoiled which Apple doesn't.

21. vgking9699

Posts: 189; Member since: Mar 01, 2019

It’s monopolistic to be the one to make the phone hardware and expect money from developers making apps using apples own tools they made to make the apps and the to maintain the store in which your apps are sold lol

16. c.m.s

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 10, 2017

Well time and time again studies have shown that the general iOS user is spending more money than the general Android user, thats for sure. The customer base is a bit different between the two platforms. Alot of the Android sales are really cheap phone and people buying these are less likely to buy apps than people who buys the more expensive phones.

11. OneLove123

Posts: 971; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

I have never paid for an app and never will.

18. Tizo101

Posts: 524; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

The beauty of android, as much as I have money I'm definitely not spending on f***en apps.

22. vgking9699

Posts: 189; Member since: Mar 01, 2019

That kind of thinking is a huge part of what’s killing off android tablets What developer wants to bother making apps for android tablets and especially take extra time and effort into optimizing for tablets from phone versions original if so many of your users only download free apps and don’t wanna pay anything That’s why iPads have always gotta more support and optimization from developers since Apple users are actually wiling to pay for their apps and not be so cheap as you

23. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

Wrong. 90% of apps on the play store work on both phones and tablets. It's IOS that has the iPhone vs iPad app problem because they want you to pay twice.

24. mackan84

Posts: 375; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

You’re both wrong then.

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

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