Apple's App Store Continues to Lead Globally by Revenue in Q3

Changes could be coming, though, as consumers in emerging markets—such as China, Mexico and Southeast Asia—buy new devices.

Apple App Store, Google Play Store, app downloads, revenue, mobile phones, tablets, emerging markets, App Annie

Apple's App Store continues to bring in much higher revenue around the world than Google's Play Store, while Google's Play Store continues to rake in far more downloads by users, according to a new report by research firm App Annie.

The 11-page report, the App Annie Index: Market Q3 2015 study, repeats a pattern that has been seen now for several years, with Apple's store bringing in 80 percent more revenue in the quarter than Google Play, while the Play Store has handled about 90 percent more downloads by users than the Apple store. The study did not give figures for comparative revenues or downloads.

But as repetitive as the latest study results are, there could be future changes brewing in both the revenue and download totals for both companies, Danielle Levitas, senior vice president of research at App Annie, told eWEEK.

"This has been a dynamic that's been going on for years," she said, but there are new factors that could change the balance over the next few years, including millions of new users who will likely enter the smartphone market in emerging nations like China, Mexico and other countries in Southeast Asia, said Levitas.

"It has a lot to do with the demographics of who is buying this stuff," she said. Apple products sell for premium prices to consumers who are in a more affluent customer base, while companies that build Android devices have been doing a great job offering more affordable smartphones that give access to the masses, said Levitas.

"You can get a smartphone with Android that's well under $100 today," she said. "You can't get anything like that from Apple."

Even apps for iOS and Android can be priced differently, with iOS apps being more expensive than Android apps even though they have the same content, she said.

One thing that App Annie doesn't track is in-app advertising, said Levitas, and since Android apps tend to have more in-app advertising, there is no way to see how that might affect app prices or revenue.

What the App Annie analysis did show is that the sale of large-screen iPhones "has led to China becoming Apple's most important market," with that country leading all other nations in revenue and downloads in the App store, according to the report.

In fact, in the first quarter of 2015, China surpassed the United States for iOS downloads for the first time, said Levitas. "The revenue total is still higher [in the United States] but that gap is probably going to close because there are a lot more Chinese consumers. That number should switch as long as they keep buying."

Emerging markets are continuing to grow in India, Indonesia and Vietnam as more low-cost smartphones continue to hit those countries, and first-time smartphone owner numbers are on the rise, according to the App Annie research.

Google Play, meanwhile, gained dominance in India with security, social networking and messaging apps, the study reported.