As more cheap Android handsets flood the market, Google Play app downloads are rising

Android(s goog) is the most-used smartphone platform worldwide, and now it’s responsible for 60% more downloads than iOS(s aapl), according to a new second quarter report from app analytics company App Annie. That’s a gulf that’s growing faster as more cheap Android handsets flood emerging markets — in the second quarter last year, Google Play downloads were only 10% higher than iOS downloads.
App Annie’s Market Index report includes data from the two big app stores across 150 countries. That gives it a pretty good vantage point to evaluate the app market, but it’s not perfect. It doesn’t include the Amazon(s amzn) Appstore, for instance, or any of the third-party Android app stores common in China.
The report says that Apple’s platform is still driving more revenue than Google Play, continuing a trend that has held since the beginning of both mobile app stores. Last quarter, iOS apps were responsible for 80% more revenue than Google Play, counting both paid downloads and in-app purchases. So there are fewer iOS devices out there, downloading fewer apps, but contributing more to app developers’ bottom lines. As Google Play gains a wider lead in terms of total app downloads, we can expect revenue between the two app stores to even out.
Yes — the World Cup does affect what apps people download. Soccer fans need their scores: the Sports category of apps in the Google Play store saw a 20% rise in downloads, with App Annie observing that the increase was notable in soccer-crazy countries like Germany and Argentina.

moto e featured

Motorola’s Moto E, a low-cost handset that’s selling like gangbusters in markets like India.

But the biggest trend in the report is the rise of huge markets with millions of people switching from feature phones to smartphones, spurred by cheap devices such as Motorola’s Moto G. India is now the #3 country for Google Play downloads, and there are still hundreds of millions of people in that market waiting for their first smartphone. Brazil, another huge market, experienced higher proportional Google Play download growth than any other country.
Millions of people in these countries are getting their first real computer — in the form of an Android smartphone — and are exploring the app stores, which could lead to platform lock-in in the coming years. Whether low cost Windows Phones(s msft) or even cheap iOS handsets can stem this tide remains to be seen.
There’s more information and data in the full report, which can be found here.