Google Play Gains On App Store

Apple’s App Store is still the top dog when it comes to app sales, but Google’s push to gain share in the space is picking up steam. Total spending in the Google app storefront grew 260% in December and 275% in the fourth quarter, versus 51% and 62% for iOS, respectively.
While the App Store still claimed 61% of total spending last month and in 4Q, that figure was down significantly from 79% a year ago, noted Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter, in a research note Monday analyzing recent app store data from app tracking firm Distimo.
“Google Play has gained meaningful share over the past year, as spending has grown at a much faster rate than spending on Apple’s App store,” he wrote.
Driving growth for both Apple and Google are games. Spending on games made up 85% of overall app revenue in the fourth quarter, up from 84% in the prior quarter, and 77% a year ago. Share of games on Google Play was about 90%, representing 300% annual growth, while on iOS the category accounted for 92% of total spending (up 79% from a year ago).
“This is another reason why we expect both GOOG and AAPL to introduce new hardware and software to enable apps to make the leap to any screen, including TVs (AMZN, among others, will also likely introduce such capabilities),” wrote Schachter.
Earlier this month, Apple announced the App Store racked up $10 billion in sales last year, including in-app purchase of digital content, such as virtual currency or magazine subscriptions. The company also said it had paid out $15 billion to developers since the App Store’s launch in 2008.
Google didn’t disclose Google Play sales, but Schachter pointed out that the company recognizes the approximately 30% cut it takes of app sales in its “Other” revenue line, which also includes sales of hardware through the Play store, DoubleClick fees and other items. Macquarie indicates the app sales could help build on its estimate of $1.45 billion in Other revenue.
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