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Why Android is predicted to finally beat iOS in app revenue in 2017

Not that long ago, the entire mobile community talked about the so-called ‘mobile platform wars’ being over and hotly discussed their results. Even though Android apps proved to be more popular, iOS apps had an upper hand in regards to revenue.

However, the recent report by AppAnnie predicts Android app revenue to surpass that of iOS apps for the first time ever by the end of 2017. We see this prediction quite intriguing and suggest taking a closer look at the stats to understand why expectations are that optimistic.

Why Android is predicted to finally beat iOS in app revenue

Mobile app store revenue is growing

AppAnnie’s graphs show that in general, users spent $61.8 billion on mobile apps in 2016. This figure is predicted to reach $82.2 billion in 2017 and continue its growth over the next 5 years at a CAGR of 18%. In 2021, the annual mobile app profit will reach $139.1 billion. Although this estimate is certainly alluring, it vastly contradicts the one Gartner made in October 2016, where they talked about brands abandoning their apps by 2019 due to a low return on investment.

Asian-Pacific market grows and favors Android

The latest statistics prove that the Asian-Pacific (APAC) region still mostly favors Android over iOS, and this preference affects the global market dramatically.

Taking a large part of the APAC, China is now “entering a maturing stage,” AppAnnie says, as the country’s download growth is expected to achieve a 19% CAGR. Meanwhile, India is at its “early growing stage” with its low purchasing power to bring $0.3 billion revenue in 2017 and $2.1 billion in 2021. Still, India’s app download growth is predicted to be quite high (a 28% CAGR).

Of the entire $61.8 billion generated in 2016, $38.4 billion belonged to the APAC market. According to the predictions, the market will also bring around $51 and $76.5 billion in 2017 and 2021 respectively, ending up as the most profitable region.

Android apps aren’t just on Google Play

App Store is currently the largest stable app market and is the only possibility for iOS apps to get monetized. At the same time, Android apps get profit via multiple third-party Android stores. In 2016, these third-party stores already brought $10 billion, which is more than impressive compared to $17 billion share of Google Play, and the competition will most likely heat on.

AppAnnie says that by the end of 2017 the gross revenue of Android apps sold by all the stores will exceed iOS revenue by 1 billion. In 2021, the difference is anticipated to become even more significant: while iOS apps will generate $60 billion, Google Play alone will gain $42 billion, and other third-party Android stores will add $36 billion to the revenue, accounting for an $18 billion advantage.


Although market predictions are questionable, what they rely on are feasible facts. Even if Android won’t live up to the expectations mentioned by AppAnnie, it’s still worth paying attention to the current global market trends and conditions.

For instance, now is definitely a good time to enter the Asian-Pacific market and benefit from their Android-favoring audience. It’s also worth noticing that an Android app can actually be as profitable when published on Google Play as when published on any third-party store. And lastly, mobile development continues to be a thriving industry and even its maturity doesn’t seem to bring it to a standstill.

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