Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

A Foolish Take: Apple's App Store Still Makes More Money Than Google Play

By Leo Sun – Jun 3, 2019 at 12:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Google controls a bigger slice of the market, but the iPhone maker rakes in more profits.

Google's Android powers 86% of smartphones worldwide, according to IDC, while Apple's (AAPL 3.08%) iOS controls the remaining 14%. Therefore, it wasn't surprising when Sensor Tower reported that the Alphabet (GOOG 3.28%) (GOOGL 3.13%) subsidiary's Google Play store logged 20.7 billion downloads in the first quarter of 2019, versus 7.4 billion downloads for Apple's App Store. But there's a twist: The App Store generated significantly more revenue than Google Play, despite having fewer users.

Chart showing Google Play vs. App Store revenue in Q1 2018 and Q1 2019

Data source: Sensor Tower. Chart by author.

This trend isn't new. Last year, App Annie reported that Android users accounted for 70% of all app downloads in 2017 but just 34% of app consumer spending. Apple users accounted for 30% of downloads but 66% of spending.

Analysts attribute the split to several factors: iPhone users are generally more affluent than Android users, so they buy more apps; many Android users in developing countries lack credit cards; and the Android ecosystem is fragmented, with older hardware that can't run newer apps.

Google and Apple both retain a 15%-30% cut of their app store sales. Since Apple's platform offers easier monetization than Google's, developers may prefer to launch their apps on iOS before Android -- which would give Apple an edge against Google.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Leo Sun owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$142.45 (3.08%) $4.25
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$98.64 (3.13%) $2.99
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
$99.30 (3.28%) $3.15

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 10/03/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.