Google Play Store makes 10 times less revenue per device than the App Store

It's rather commendable just how much better the Google Play Store is compared to the Android Market we had a few years back, and while Google's now on a more even playing field with Apple than ever before, there's still one area where the App Store reigns supreme — revenue.

According to Morgan Stanley Research, the Apple Store Store makes around four times more in net revenue from apps and games compared to the Play Store. Switch things over to money made on a per-device basis, and the App Store dominates Google even more with ten times as much revenue.

In Q1 2018, the App Store saw $0.44 in revenue per download while the Play Store made only $0.10. Alternatively, $5.08 was generated per device with the App Store during Q1 compared to only $0.47 with the Play Store.

Apple's seen a growth of over 119% in revenue earned from the App Store over the last four years, and while the Play Store's made progress as well, its revenue's only climbed by around 14% during that same time.

Apple has a big advantage here thanks to its closed-source nature, and while these numbers don't really affect you and me, it is fascinating to see how much of a discrepancy there really is between the two software marketplaces.

How often do you spend money on the Play Store?

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Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • What are you talking about? It does affect all of us. When companies and developers look at which platform to support, you bet a graph like this helps them decide which one to invest in first. The hottest game on the planet right now is on iOS since at least two months ago, and no word yet on when it will make its debut on Android. By the time its release on Android, most folks would have moved on already. Didn't someone in 2011 said this would no longer be the case if I remember correctly. It just goes to show you the market share numbers means squat in the grand scheme of things if the financial incentives are not there. It's the reason I never understood the market shares argument to begin with. Market shares only matters for 3rd party support (ex... Mac vs PC), the Mac line suffers to gain lots of supports from 3rd party, that is not the case with iOS. IOS have crossed over the threshold of big enough with over 1 billion iOS devices and the financials to go along with it (a great one, two combination). iOS enjoys so much 3rd party supports that Apple have the luxury of blocking anyone they want at anytime. They are able to do such crap because just about every businesses are falling over themselves to be on their platform, because that's where the most profitable users are.
  • Why though? I don't get it. I feel like I personally spent quite a bit at Google Play (and I consider myself an average user).
  • I have spent so much money on App Store for the iPad 3 we have, There has been so many educational games. But most they never existed on Android. On Android I have bought some productivity apps for the phone. But I would never have bought an Android tablet as it had such a small amount of good apps, especially back when we got the iPad.
    But even today, We have been thinking aout getting a new tablet, but there are not many good Android tablets, and when I did have a look through some of the most used apps, they are still not on Android. Not even those most expensive apps, are on Android yet.
    But the biggest stopper for moving over the Tablet to Android is that those apps that do exist on both platform, none offer any discount or anything like that, when changing platform. So I would have to buy all the apps once more, no thank you.
  • Why on earth would you expect a discount when moving from apple to android?
  • Once you buy it once on any device you do not have to pay for it again. If you have it for the phone it will play on the tablet as well. You are obviously not doing your own research and listening to other iPhone users for opinions. Note that all Great Android Apps don't all make it to Apple either. Stop looking for the same app and look for the native ones. Samsung and LG make some very good tablets at a much lower price point. Amazon makes some great kid tablets that come pre-loaded with great apps and if your kid breaks the tablet they replace it for you. Take the blinders off and ensure that when you do your research on Android it is not an article written by an Apple Fan Boy.
  • Holy ****. You are still buying the same myth Apple people created from 10 years ago. Come out of that cave already.
  • On a real note to this article, I think the problem is that Google has never prioritized tablet apps. Like Apple's apps have been tablet specific and it really seems to make a difference with the quality of tablet apps available to android users. They are missing a HUGE segment of people who want Android tablets with high quality apps - let alone high quality Tablets. I spend quite a bit on Apps through the play store, but I also hear a lot of complaints from people that refuse to pay for apps they feel should be free (even if that's ridiculous). But I also noticed Apple seem to charge more for most apps, plus freemium games are very popular on Android...
  • And who cares if Apple has the profits in their overated App Store? We have the better platform and we Android users outnumber the iSheep (can't believe I used to be one).
  • Because you use your phone for the apps not the platform.
  • You switched one Kool aid for another.
  • If this is the case and its worldwide, Android with an almost completely dominance, Android doubles the total of Apple's revenue.
  • Does this report mention the overall revenue from both stores? I've searched for it online, but I only found other blogs quoting the same numbers above. If I remember it correctly from a similar report a few months back, the App Store had about twice the overall revenue of the Play Store. Still one sided, sure, but nowhere near as those figures about make it up to be. The fact that Google Play still isn't available in China is also, still, a very big problem for Google.
  • The comments about tablet apps seem to me like where Apple might be getting the bigger revenue stream? Is there a breakout of type of apps (and maybe even differences of the same app across both platforms)? Personally, I buy what I use. And that doesn't change all that often, so I am rather curious what people are buying that gets Apple such a higher number. Even if I was on iOS, I don't see myself buying much more than what I have already.
  • I go to the 42matters site from time to time check an overview of both stores (
  • 1. Google Play Store does not exist in China. App Store does. 2. Android has over a dozen app stores both legit and shady. Samsung has its own store. In China Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo - all the major OEM's have their own App stores. 3. Cracked and hacked apps are widespread on the Android platform. 4. Android may have market share but this includes a few billion users in developing and underdeveloped nations where the first world cost of an app could be a few days worth of wages. 5. Except for the top tier Android flagships most Android devices offer much better value for money in terms of cost to performance ratio. This would point to a large proportion of devices being in the hands of cost conscious users who may not part with their pennies as easily as an Apple customer. 6. The tablet market is practically owned by iPads and the App market for tablets is huge. Most Android phone users are still using iPads for media consumption at leisure for want of a better option. 7. Not really qualified to make this last comment but maybe Google encourages the freemium ad supported Apps instead of Apps being sold outright because serving targeted ads is their bread and butter.
  • Well said. As a user of both Android and IOS, I can backup # 7 a bit. Many apps on IOS are a one time cost and comes at a high price where the same apps on Android tend to be subscription based. I'm hoping the Android tablet apps problem will get better with Android apps running on Chromebooks. I swapped out my Android tablet for a Chromebook a year ago and while some apps are good on the Chromebook, the majority are not so good. There is a version of ChromeOS coming that will allow windowed capabilities. That might make it better too.
  • Ditto. But google should already be aware of this. Not sure why this is now news.
  • Cause Tim Crook bends over for the Chinese government in order to make money in China.
  • You make a lot of good points. I would like to see an updated report about third party Android app store revenue. The last one I saw was from 2016, I believe, and, at the time, they predicted that by 2017 the total Android revenue (Play Store + third party stores) would surpass iOS revenue.
  • Yes. The worldwide market dominance of Google, and the fact it is an open source system, together bring down app store average revenues. Apple devices, globally, are in the hands of wealthier mobile users. It would only be news if Apple did not have higher average app store revenues.
  • 10 times less? Wtf? Do you mean a tenth of the revenue?
  • If you broke it down to something like Android phones with a retail value of $500 and upwards then compared that with Apple, maybe the gap would be smaller? You see Apple's hardware isn't for "poor" people (for want of a way to describe it). Not everyone can afford to get into Apple's ecosystem and not everyone will be able to get carrier supported contracts. Android has millions of low end devices out there and a lot of those users probably rely on freemium apps and games, also unlikely to purchase in-game stuff too. I don't mean to sound snobby referring to people as "poor". I'm not exactly well off myself lol.
  • You can always buy an older iphone.
  • It's also that a lot of or aren't willing to pay the Apple tax for what is inferior, overpriced and dated hardware and want phones that are smarter and more capable, running the world's most popular, powerful and advanced mobile OS in Android which gives you freedom, flexibility and customisation to do what ever you want with your phone.
  • Stupidest headline ever. Compare $1000 Android phone Play Store revenue to App Store revenue. Or compare $200 Android phone Play Store revenue to $200 iPhone App Store revenue. Dumbasses.
  • Dumbest report ever ... Android has a LOT of devices and that type of measurement tries to draw a false conclusion. According to various reports, total revenue between iOS App Store and Google's Play Store is around $18.4 billion combined. Of that, Apple has roughly $12 billion and the Play Store around $6.4 billion. Android has a LOT of lower end phones and in developing counties. Measuring per device gives a false indication of health of BOTH systems.
  • I don't give a sh*t about the article, I stopped by for the comedic gold known as the comment section, funny AF. 🤣🤣🤣
  • Simple math: At least 75% of everything on Google Play is free. Most stuff at the Apple store cost a lot of money.