Absolute growth vs. relative size
App Annie only sporadically reports total growth for each store.
The iOS App Store remains comfortably ahead in worldwide revenue, generating about 85% more revenue than Google Play. This gap narrowed over the last quarter though, as Google Play revenue increased markedly in the United States and United Kingdom.
However, it is difficult to understand whether the gap is really closing, or is actually widening. To illustrate my point, let’s take a look at a graph from another App Annie report.
In 4Q13 of this graph, we see that the relative size of iOS App Store and Google Play is closer in 4Q13 than 3Q13. However, in terms of absolute revenue gap, it is actually widening.
Unless App Annie gives us enough data to draw a graph similar to the one shown above, we cannot conclude whether the gap between the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store widened or narrowed. It is totally possible that the gap is widening in absolute terms.
A year ago, South Korea was second in both downloads and revenue for Google Play according to App Annie data. A year later, South Korea is third in downloads behind the US, and fourth in downloads. What has happened?
With the limit data that App Annie has released, we cannot conclude whether the decline in rankings is driven by increases in other countries, stagnation in the South Korean market or a combination of both. However, given that Distimo gave South Korea a very strong lead over the US in July 2013, it is reasonable to assume that stagnation must have occurred.
If South Korea stagnated, then it is also reasonable to infer that Japan, which also has a disproportionate level of app spending, might also be stagnating. This is even more likely since the largest carrier in Japan, DoCoMo, just recently started selling iPhones, resulting in a decline of Android market share.