In the last week or so, both Apple and Android have released reports about their performance and sales for this past quarter (you can read Apple's full report here, and Kantar's report on Android numbers here). Not surprisingly, the two together dominated the smartphone market, but who is winning?
Apple vs Android Device Sales
Apple's report shows that, not surprisingly, the iPhone continues to be the biggest contributor to their revenue stream with 37.4 million being sold between January and March of this year. iPads are also rising quickly as revenue generators, with 19.5 sold (though Apple doesn't break down how many were iPads versus the iPad Mini). How did that translate into dollars? I'm glad you asked. Between January and March of this year, Apple brought in $43.6 billion in total revenue, which resulted in $9.5 billion in net profit. Not too shabby for three months. But how did this compare to Android? Unfortunately we don't have hard numbers for the sales of Android phones, but we do know how much of the market they were able to command for the first three months of the year; a whopping 64.2% of all handset sales worldwide during this time period belonged to Android, according to TechCrunch's article. In Spain, Android secured an impressive 93.5% of all smartphone sales; the only country where Apple came out on top was Japan, where they were able to sneak ahead with 49.2% of the market's smartphone sales (Android had 45.8% of sales in Japan).
Will this always be the case? There are those that argue yes, but some research shows that Apple has a strong case for overtaking Android's phone sales by 2015. The Yankee Group is one such research group whose data points to Apple becoming the top selling smartphone in the next few years. Why? They say "high ecosystem loyalty and feature phone upgraders" are the key to Apple's upcoming triumph. Yankee Group surveyed 16,000 consumers over the past year to find out which phones they owned and which they planned to buy within 6 months. The results? Of all those surveyed, 42% said they would buy an android, and 42% said they would purchase an iPhone. The true difference though is that intent to buy was significantly higher for iPhone than for Android.
The Yankee Group also states that "Apple’s “black hole” ecosystem captures subscribers who never leave, while Android smartphones are losing one out of every six customers to other manufacturers. These trends will drive Apple ownership well past Android ownership by 2015 and will reinforce Apple’s dominance in tablets as well." Impressive numbers, and hard to ignore, but only time will tell which smartphone company will be on top when 2015 finally arrives. While all of this information is educational and interesting, who can app developers learn from it to increase downloads and further grow their business?
iTunes vs Google Play
The statistics of iTunes versus Google Play are the numbers that should matter more to app developers (though the statistics on which phone is more popular is still significant in our world). The number of iPhones sold is fairly irrelevant if the iTunes store can't boast a high number of downloads. So who holds the crown for the most successful app store?
In the first three months of the year, iTunes saw record revenues in all categories, and overall has grown 28% year-over-year. The total number of app downloads from iTunes has topped 45 billion. All in all, app purchases have been a significant portion of Apple's revenue for the first three months of the year. So how does Google Play compare? From October through December of 2012, iTunes saw 4x more sales than Google Play did…however that number dropped to 2.6x in the early months of 2013. Apple is still dominating, but Google Play is definitely catching up; in the last three months, Google Play has seen their app revenue grow by roughly 90%. A few more fun statistics:
So what does this mean for app developers? Should you target iPhone or Android for your next app platform? The obvious answer is both. The not-so-obvious answer is which platform you should target first. It all depends on your app's category, demographic, usability, and so much more, but at the end of the day, we can't wait to see your app in BOTH app stores!