Android vs iOS Apps: Which Are More Viable?

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Android and iOS are the top platform for all phones around the globe. According to Statista, they hold a 99.8% share of the global smartphone market. Many publishers may be confused about which platform to start with. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question, as each OS serves a different customer segment. In this article, we will summarize those differences in an infographic. Then, we will go through each difference in more detail.

Apps

Total apps count

As you can see in the infographic, Android has far more applications than does iOS (in July 2017). I believe the main reason for this is that building an app for Android is easier and cheaper than iOS. According to Statista, the development of iOS apps is 21% more expensive than the development of Android apps. In addition, Google Play charges publishers a one-time fee of $25 to submit any number of apps. On the other hand, Apple charges each publisher $99/year to submit apps. This could encourage young developers to consider Android over iOS when building their first-time app.

In addition to costs, submitting an app to Google Play is much easier than submitting an app to the iOS App Store. It takes only a few hours to publish the Android app to the Play Store. On the other hand, it takes around a week to make an iOS app available in the store. Apple invests a lot of time in reviewing apps before they are published. Although Google conducts almost no review of applications to be published, it still has its own ways of ensuring quality. Google periodically removes low-quality and harmful apps from its store. It performs some checks through AI to identify those apps that should be removed after publication. Last year alone, Google removed more than 700,000 applications from its play store.

Total app downloads

Unsurprisingly, Android has four times more total app downloads per quarter than iOS. This number makes sense to me, as Android has four times the market share that iOS has. The more Android phones available, the more apps downloaded from its play store. In other words, total app downloads in both stores seem to be equal per device. However, as Android phones outnumber iPhone, the total number of app downloads in Android is much higher than the total number of app downloads in iOS.

Total app revenue

Although total app downloads in Android are four times higher than in iOS, iPhone apps are more profitable. Android app revenue is half the revenue of iOS apps. This indicates that iOS apps are much more economically viable than are Android apps. For this reason, many paid app owners prioritize their iOS apps. The primary reason why iOS apps are more profitable than Android apps is their customer segments.

Android phone owners are usually hard-core techies who are comfortable with a more open and less polished experience. As per a study done by Forbes, people who own iPhones usually have a higher annual income, are highly educated, and have better jobs. BusinessInsider proved this information by checking the most-used phones in different areas of New York. Therefore, those who are building paid apps should give iOS apps higher priority.

Million-dollar publishers count

As expected, the number of publishers who are earning more than a million dollars from apps is much higher for iOS. As per a study done by SensorTower, the number of multimillion-dollar publishers in iOS is 1.7 times the number of multimillion-dollar publishers in Android. In other words, paid apps in iOS are more profitable and have a  higher chance of success than those published in Android. This emphasizes the idea that iPhone users are more willing to pay for mobile apps and content.

Average transaction value

Unsurprisingly, the average transaction value in iPhone is much higher than that of Android phones. According to MOZ, the average iPhone user spends three times as much as the average Android user does. Again, this difference is due mainly to the demographic difference between both users. Android phones are very popular in developing countries; meanwhile, iPhone is more popular in the US, Europe, and other developed nations.

Ad market share

When it comes to the mobile ad market, Android applications come out ahead of their iOS counterparts. As per a report published by Smaato, the Android apps ad market share is twice as much as that of iOS. Combining this information with the number of devices using each platform, we can see that showing ads in Android is less profitable per user than showing ads in iOS. However, free Android apps that rely on ads can have a much larger user base than that of iOS apps. Accordingly, they are likely to earn more revenue than iOS apps.

Most popular app categories

As per a study done by Statista, Games is most popular category in the iOS app store. It accounts for 25% of total app downloads, and is followed by Business (9.8%), Education (8.5%), Lifestyle (8.3%), and Entertainment (6.05%). Games is also the most popular category in Android, accounting for more than 30% of total downloads, according to Statista. In addition to games, other popular categories in Google Play are Tools (6.6%), followed by Entertainment (5.4%), Photography (4.8%), and Communication (4.6%).

Conclusion

As stated, building an app for each platform has its pros and cons. Depending on the app type and the target segment, one platform may be more viable than the other one. It’s always recommended to build both Android and iOS apps to reap the benefits of both. However, if the mobile app is a paid one, it makes more sense to start with iOS. As per the above data, paid mobile apps are usually more successful in iOS. On the other hand, if the app will rely completely on ads, consider building its Android version first.

In addition to the segment and app type, you must consider the OS popularity in the target market. For example, if you are building a mobile app for the Indian market, you must make Android your priority. As per Statista, Android phones in India have a share of around 82% of the smartphone market, followed by iOS (3.17%), and Firefox OS (1.73%). On the other hand, if you are building a mobile app for Japan, you may need to prioritize iOS. According to this research, iOS has the lion’s share (66.24%) of the Japanese phone market, followed by Android (33.14%), and BlackBerry OS (0.01%).

 

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