Disitmo Report Shows Android Market Could Be Doing Much Better For Itself

The Android Market is exploding  at a terrific rate, adding apps and games at an almost exponential rate.  And with 400,000 Android devices being activated every day, things couldn’t be better, right?  Meh… Take it easy.  There’s still plenty of room for improvement.  Plenty of developers are finding it difficult to get exposure make headway against bigger players.

I’m sure you’ve heard before the argument that developers are having a tough time making money on their Android apps.  It seems you can’t even talk mobile app monetization without someone saying that it’s not lucrative on Android like it is for iOS.

Distimo has released a new publication and it takes a look at how apps are faring as a whole, and as compared to other platforms.  Let’s dig into a few bullet points, shall we?

  • Google Maps is the only application with more than 50 million downloads – the all-time most popular application in this store.
  • 96 applications have been downloaded more than 5 million times in the Google Android Market.
  • 20% of all free applications and 80% of all paid applications have been downloaded less than 100 times worldwide to date.

Compared to their Apple counterparts Distimo finds that Android developers have a tough time monetizing using a one-off fee model. Their report that only two paid applications have been downloaded more than 500,000 times in the Android Market worldwide to date.  Contrast that with the App Store where six paid applications generate 500,000 downloads within a two month stretch…in the United States alone.

Further, there are only five games in the Android Market with over 250,000 downloads worldwide while the App Store has ten games with more than 250,000 downloads in a two month period – again in the US only.

One thing to keep in mind is that this report comes from data collected before Google turned on some of the new features in the Android Market.  With increased pressure from Getjar and Amazon stepping into the mix, Google has had to get creative and adopt changes to their store front.  Hopefully the next time Disitimo looks at these figures, they tell a different story.

  • There are also well more than 5 games with more than 250,000 downloads.  Nick and I did a quick look on the market, and found more than 10.

    • Rootko

      I believe they meant paid games with more than 250k downloads. But anyway other factor not in stats is piracy. It is way easier for average person to install pirated app on Android than it is on iOS.For example my game ConnecToo has 480 paying users, but flurry.com statistics shows 65000 installs… Most are in Asia, but I don’t think it is much of an excuse…

  • I think another problem that was not considered in this article is the audience. Apple products have a premium pricetag so a large percentage of iOS users will have enough disposable income to spend on apps. Most Android phones are much cheaper than Apple products so the audience will be more picky about buying apps. Of course this doesn’t apply to us Android geeks as we buy Android mobiles because we love Android, not necessarily because they are cheaper than Apple products. Don’t forget though, we only only make up a small percentage of Android users. 

    Also, I think maybe one reason why all apps on Android are not downloaded as much as apps on the AppStore is because Google doesn’t promote their Marketplace as much as Apple promotes their Appstore. I have seen countless Apple ads on the tv telling me that there’s an app for everything. I think this heavy promotion that Apple has carried out encourages their users to venture into the App Store and download apps. People may buy an Android phone and not download any/many apps because they haven’t been encouraged to.

  • Anonymous

    If the information for this study was gathered anytime prior to, say, the beginning of this year, then I can believe what they are saying. However, both android and the Market have undergone huge growth and changes in even the last six months. It’s entirely possible that this study began before Google changed their return policy to 15 minutes (an unpopular move that has nonetheless improved  the market’s attractiveness to devs). And the even more recent changes since I/O have already had large effects, including Gameloft relenting to have more of their games in the Market. In other words, things are looking better and better all the time.

  • interesting) thanks a lot!

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  • Anonymous

    I think there’s quite a few issues here. First, the iPhone has stricter controls over how apps look and  act. On the whole, they look much more polished, they  have better graphics, better designs, better animations. Its a lot easier to justify paying a few bucks for something that looks slick. Android apps, on the whole, miss the boat here. People like shiny things and Android is much more difficult to program apps, especially when it comes to UI features. So most apps in Android lack the polish that iPhone apps have. There are very few, truly professional looking applications.

    Also, while I like Google’s approach to a more open Market and not having an approval process, one of the downsides is there is a much higher probability of getting a truly bad app. Plus, with so many different devices, there is a much higher chance of an application having problems or force closes because programmers are dealing with so many different versions of the OS, different phones, different manufacturer skins (Motoblur/Sense/Touchwiz) which add even more complexity. So instead of spending time making the app look a lot better, developers are often spending time trying to resolve conflicts and issues.

    Also, without an approval process, there’s a larger number of apps which are just complete crapware.

    Finally, the Market, on the whole, doesn’t make it easy to find apps. Even searching for the exact app name, in many cases, does not pull up that specific app and requires the user to scroll around and look for it.This is improving, but its not there yet.

    There a tons of other reasons as well, any number of which can result in users hesitating to purchase apps. Add them all together and it leads to depressed sales.

    Caleb also hit the nail on the head in his earlier post about demographics and marketing.

    iDevices and other Apple products are typically more expensive, so the likelihood is higher that an iPhone user will have more disposable income to buy apps. Plus, without apps, iPhone’s would have almost no functionality considering how limited they already are, so they have to really promote them. Apple is a marketing giant and that pays huge dividends – “There’s an app for that,” promoted a culture of buying apps and it has paid off both for Apple and its developers. I’m pretty sure that Google doesn’t believe in (or understand) how to market their own products/apps.

  • Also, we should not forget that paid apps only became available worldwide (131 countries versus 29, or something to that effect) this month. The statistics might look very different in about half a year, when users in the newly added countries get the taste of buying apps – many of them will do so with time, I believe. (Myself included, as a Hungarian Android user, insofar restricted to only use free apps)