iOS App Store Revenue Dwarfs That Of Google Play, Here’s Why [Opinion]

Peter MacdiarmidGetty Images

The iOS App Store has always garnered more revenue and profits than all other competing platforms. So it is not exactly news that Apple has done it again in Q3. What’s interesting is that the trend is not slowing. In fact, the gap is increasing at a remarkable rate.

Website 9TO5Mac gives a breakdown of the numbers.

“According to the data, the App Store earned nearly 93% more in revenue than Google Play, making it the largest revenue gap recorded by Sensor Tower (since at least 2014).

“In total, the firm says roughly 66% of the $18.2 billion in mobile app revenue generated in Q3 of 2018 was from Apple’s App Store. That equates to roughly $12 billion earned from the App Store alone, up 23.3% from the year-ago quarter. For Google Play, it earned $6.2 billion in the quarter, up 21.5% from the year-ago quarter.”

Bear in mind that these numbers are despite the fact that Google commands a much larger marketshare worldwide, and has a larger overall download total. Here are some of the factors that explain Apple’s domination of app revenue:


While Google controls marketshare, Apple controls trust share. iPhone users have the luxury of not having to worry about rogue apps on the App Store. It is not that such apps don’t exist. They just don’t exist in large enough numbers to be a general concern.


Man using iPhone
Featured image credit: Doug PensingerGetty Images

Celebrity endorsements can be very good or very bad. iOS is the most endorsed platform when celebrities are not being paid to endorse a platform. See what celebrities use when they are at a sporting event, or a wedding, or anything that is personally meaningful to them. It goes toward trust. If the people who could use anything use an iPhone, it must be trustworthy.


The newest and hottest apps come out on iOS first. They eventually arrive on Android late, if at all. This has been the pattern from the beginning. All other considerations aside, the vast majority of iOS users are using devices that are updated to the latest version of the OS.

The same can only be said of Android users in the low, single digits. It is therefore much easier for developers to target iOS users as they are on the latest OS version, and are using high-end devices.

This is neither an indictment against Android, nor an endorsement of iOS; These are just the facts, and have been from the beginning. Android users will never have a shortage of great apps. But due to trust, popularity, and being the easiest platform to target for developers, iOS will have a lock on app revenue for the foreseeable future.