Apple Continues to Claim Lion's Share of App Revenue

Apple Inc. continues to claim the vast majority of revenue generated fom app sales, despite the company's minority share of the smartphone market. Canalys released a report on Monday that said Apple claimed 74 percent of app revenues in the top 50 markets in the March quarter, which once again begs the question of what all those Android users are doing with their devices.

Canalys said that total app downloads increased to 13.4 billion in the quarter, an increase of 11 percent over the December quarter of 2012. Revenues from app sales increased 9 percent to $2.2 billion (before revenue splits with developers), with Apple's App Store accounting for 74 percent of that money, or $1.63 billion.

The firm looked at four different app stores, Apple’s App Store, Google Play, the Windows Phone Store, and BlackBerry World. Not surprisingly, only two of them—the App Store and Google Play—matter.

‘Apple’s App Store and Google Play remain the heavyweights in the app store world. In comparison, BlackBerry World and the Windows Phone Store remain distant challengers today, though they still should not be ignored,’ Tim Shepherd, Canalys Senior Analyst, said in a statement.

App Revenue for Q1 2013

Data from Canalysis, Chart by The Mac Observer
(Idea for presenting the data in this manner from Philip Elmer-Dewitt)

The report said that Google Play accounted for 51 percent of app downloads, likely the first time that has happened. The report didn't specify Apple's percentage but said it was "close behind."

So kudos to the Android platform, but at the same time Android has been outselling iPhone as much as 4:1 for years now. Again, what do all those Android users do with their devices? Make calls? Text? They certainly don't seem to be downloading, let alone paying, for apps.

Still, the vastly overwhelming numbers of new Android devices hitting the market are having some kind of marginal cumulative effect, as witnessed by the 51 percent download share. Those customers might be low-value users who don't pay for apps, but 4 or 5 more years of this might see the Android platform generating as much money as Apple's App Store.

If I sound snarky, understand that it stems from rabid curiousity. It amazes me that there are so many Android devices out there while every metric that gets released suggests that they don't get used the same way that iPhone and iPad get used.

I get snarky when I'm confronted with stuff that doesn't make sense.