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Google Play Racked Up More Downloads than the App Store in Q2 2013, but Total Revenue Tells a Different Story

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Usually, when we find occasion to talk about the frenetic pace at which the world is downloading mobile apps these days, it’s because Apple is celebrating its latest milestone for the App Store. But the most recent report from App Annie Index would remind us that there’s competition; in fact, during Q2 2013, Google Play exceeded the number of downloads reached by the App Store.

Yep, that’s a first… For a bit of history, you’ll recall that both app distribution hubs (or whatever you want to call them) went online in 2008, with Apple’s beating Google’s by just a few months. Since that time, each quarter has seen Apple move more apps–until now… While it’s interesting to see Google’s app volume edge out the App Store, the other shoe drops when you look at total app revenue–where Apple’s reported earnings were 2.3 times higher than Google’s.

Now that we have some context, let’s look at what drove up downloads in Google Play… According to App Annie Index, Google Play’s performances in places like India and Brazil were key in changing the landscape of total app downloads. From the report:

“Google Play saw Brazil climb two spots to join India and Russia as another emerging market in the top 5 countries by downloads for Q2 2013… The United States, Japan and United Kingdom remained the leaders in the iOS App Store when looking at revenue generation, and Australia climbed to #4 after a strong Q2. iOS App Store revenue was driven primarily by the United States and Japan, which combined to account for about half of the total iOS App Store revenue in Q2.”

Also of note, game downloads account for about 40% of downloads on both Android and iOS… The App Store’s winning revenue figures were particularly helped by growth in the categories of Music and Social Networking, while Google Play’s high volume of downloads came through Games (#1) and Communications (#2).

Now that Google has drawn even and then some in terms of total downloads, we’ll be watching to see what Q3 brings. Can they close the gap in app revenue, or will consumers keep spending more for iOS apps?

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