Android apps - a year in review
2014 was an exciting year. We saw the release of Lollipop and with it, a whole new design standard we now call Material Design. It saw the release of Android Wear and the second themer revolution with the Android Wear watch faces. Games are slowly becoming higher quality with better graphics, controls, and premises than any prior year. It was the most successful year in Android apps and games of all time. Let’s take a look at just how it good it was on paper.

Android apps - a year in review

1. Worldwide iOS vs Google Play Downloads

The stats:

  • Google Play patrons downloaded almost 60% more apps in 2014 than iOS owners.
  • Both platforms saw growth but Android saw much more growth than iOS.

The takeaway:
People are downloading a metric ton of apps on both platforms but people are downloading a metric ton more on Android than iOS.

Android apps - a year in review

2. Worldwide iOS vs Google Play Revenue

The stats:

  • Both Google Play and iOS saw a dramatic increase in revenue in 2014.
  • Unfortunately, iOS outpaced Android in overall revenue by 70% in 2014 and the revenue gap remains as wide as ever.
  • The United States, South Korea, and Japan generated more revenue for both platforms than the rest of the world combined.
  • Brazil, Russia, India, and China are the big up and coming countries, with Brazil leading the pack in download growth and China leading the pack in revenue growth.
  • App Annie predicts strong growth in Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, and Vietnam as their telecommunication infrastructure matures.

The takeaway:
As per the norm, the average iOS owners simply dole out more cash than the average Android user. It’s particularly interesting considering Android users outnumber iOS users by a wide margin. The reasoning for this is complicated. Some attribute it to piracy. Others attribute it to iOS getting the app while it’s hot in the headlines while Android gets it as an afterthought later. Others still believe it’s because many Android users (primarily in China) don’t have access to Google Play, paid apps, or both. The thing is that everyone is at least a little bit right.

Android apps - a year in review

3. Market Group Performance Based on iOS and Google Play Data

The stats:

  • The USA, South Korea, and Japan group saw a 1.1x download growth and a 1.7x revenue growth.
  • The emerging markets group (Brazil, China, India, and Russia) saw 1.4x download growth and 2.3x revenue growth.
  • The Western Europe group (France, Germany, Italy, and United Kingdom) saw a 1.1x download growth and 1.5x revenue growth.
  • The Markets to Watch group (Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, and Vietnam) saw a 1.7x download growth and 1.6x revenue growth.
  • Messaging apps continue to be an extremely relevant market in emerging markets and the markets to watch groups.

The takeaway:
The most important thing here is that every group saw at least some growth in both revenue and downloads. The largest revenue growth went to the emerging markets group while the largest download growth went to the markets to watch group. OEMs such as Motorola (Moto G), Meizu, Xiaomi, and others have been releasing cheap phones targeted at emerging markets to both bolster and take advantage of stats like these. There is no doubt that their devices also played a roll in the revenue and download growth as better phones were made more affordable in more places. Despite that, the USA, South Korea, and Japan remain the global leaders in both overall download and revenue numbers.

Android apps - a year in review

4. Worldwide iOS and Google Play Downloads of Top 10 Messaging Apps

The stats:

  • Google Play and iOS combined for a 53% growth in messaging apps downloaded in 2014.
  • Google Play outpaced iOS in growth but not by a very wide margin.
  • The top 10 travel and transportation apps had 30% more downloads in 2014 than 2013.
  • Uber and Lyft, despite the controversies, both had large growth in 2014.

The takeaway:
Messaging, travel, and transportation are huge industries worldwide. Servies like Lyft and Uber are revolutionizing the transportation industry while apps like Airbnb, Homeaway, and Couchsurfing tackle travel. We all knew messaging was growing fast as apps like Whatsapp bragged about 700 million users and Line hit the 400 million mark recently. Unsurprisingly, all of these apps and more saw growth showing that people are embracing the new ways of doing things.

Android apps - a year in review

5. Mobile Video Streaming Apps Moved Up in Popularity

The stats:

  • Netflix gained popularity in Europe after localizing the app for the region.
  • More services like MLB.com, NFL Game Pass, NHL Gamecenter, BoxNation, and others have begun delivering content without third party restrictions.
  • App Annie predicts that more services will unbundle themselves from third parties to stream independent content.
  • Google Play outpaces iOS in growth in this area, but not by very much.

The takeaway:
This is something that practically anyone could have predicted. More countries are getting faster Internet and that makes streaming video not only more attractive but more accessible. Existing companies like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix have done great work expanding their library and sports apps have found better success than years past as their own streaming apps improve. Much like Uber and Lyft in the transportation industry, we’re seeing a paradigm shift in how people engage with video content and we expect that to continue into 2015.

Android apps - a year in review

6. Top 10 IP Crossover Games by Worldwide iOS and Google Play Downloads, 2014

The stats:

  • Games made from movies saw much more success in Google Play than in prior years.
  • TV shows almost made notable impacts with The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Looney Tunes (not listed) make big splashes.
  • All games in the top 10 were endless runners, puzzles, city builders, or shooters with Fast and the Furious 6 being the only racing game.
  • The success of the games have also generated new interested for the original IPs, according to App Annie.

The takeaway:
Larger companies are finally taking the mobile platform more seriously. While the names of the apps are certainly promising, the bigger picture here is the publisher name. Gameloft, Disney, Electronic Arts, Rovio, Glu, and DeNA are heavy hitters in the mobile industry and a couple of those are heavy hitters in the gaming industry as a whole. Large studios making name brand games for mobile is something that mobile gamers have been yearning for. It’s true they could explore some other genres but it’s a start.

Android apps - a year in review

7. Relative Composition of Downlaods by Women Across iOS App Store categories in the US

The stats:

  • Based on the numbers, men tend to download more video games than women.
  • Based on those same numbers, women tend to download more social networking apps and photo and video apps.

The takeaway:
These statistics are a total surprise, said nobody, ever. It is worth noting that it’s not all photo, video, and social networking apps that are beloved by women. App Annie does state that visual discovery apps like Pinterest skew these statistics some and they also note that such apps are great for companies looking to build a mobile presence.

Android apps - a year in review

8. Top 10 Games by Worldwide iOS and Google Play Downloads, 2014 by Month

The stats:

  • Super casual games took top ten spots in each month except September and October. Super casual games are games like Flappy Bird.
  • Not once did super casual games exceed more than four spots in the top ten games. Only two months saw more than one super casual game adorn the top 10.
  • No super casual game was able to match the viral success of Flappy Bird.

The takeaway:
There are two perspectives to look at this. From one perspective, it’s safe to say that super casual games like Flappy Bird won’t be taking over. Despite the monumental success and nearly overwhelming wave of emulations and copycats, super casual games didn’t make the huge cultural impact that many thought. From the other perspective, super casual games aren’t going anywhere. They are routinely in the top ten games on both Android and iOS so it’s safe to assume that the genre will continue to exist and be popular for years to come and it’s just a matter of waiting for the next viral hit.

Android apps - a year in review

9. Top 3 Music Apps by iOS and Google Play Downloads for Select Markets

The stats:

  • Local music apps did far better than worldwide music apps in most regions.
  • Apps like QQ Music did well in China thanks to its library of both Western and Eastern hits. Meanwhile, Palco MP3 focused entirely on Brazilian content and used that to gain the number one spot in Brazil’s music app charts.
  • Worldwide presences like Spotify and Shazam still did well in some markets such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • App Annie predicts that localized music streaming services will continue to dominate many markets in 2015.

The takeaway
There are other factors at play here aside from just a love for local music. Many streaming apps don’t have licenses to operate in certain countries and, thus, don’t have a presence there at all. Those apps also don’t always have the licenses to distribute local music which makes the localized music apps the only way to get some artists. Licensing does play a huge roll in this list. The music streaming industry is a huge competition right now and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that it’ll continue to be that way in 2015.

Android apps - a year in review

10. Top 10 Countries for Google Play

The stats:

  • Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, and Indonesia all rose multiple places on the top downloads chart.
  • We would like to welcome Turkey and Indonesia to the top 10 downloads chart as they make their first appearances there in 2014.
  • Brazil is now only behind the United States in terms of downloads.
  • The United States and South Korea, United Kingdom and Taiwan, and Australia and Hong Kong all switched places last year on the revenue leaderboard.
  • We would also like to welcome Russia to the top 10 chart in Google Play revenue as it is their first year there.
  • India, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, and Thailand were all in the top downloaded lists but failed to make the top revenue list.

The takeaway:
The biggest takeaway here is that monetization continues to be a huge problem in India. The inclusion of Turkey and Indonesia to the top 10 downloads chart is proof that emerging markets are having an effect on the Google Play Store in terms of downloads but emerging markets have contributed very little to Google Play revenue. This shows that Google needs to work more on monetization in those emerging markets. The revenue chart is more or less the same as it was in 2013 and that’s not good news.

Android apps - a year in review

11. Top 10 Categories for Google Play

The stats:

  • Games and communication continue to dominate both lists.
  • Photography saw a modest bump in the standings from 2013, but otherwise the categories are exactly the same from 2013.
  • The revenue side saw more action. Entertainment, Education, and Music & Audio saw bumps in the standings.
  • Sports was on the top revenue list for the first time.
  • Photography, Media and Video, and Personalization were the only three app categories on the top downloaded list to not make the top revenue list.
  • Sports, Media and Audio, and Education were the only three app categories on the top revenue list not to make the top downloaded list.

The takeaway:
There are no surprises here folks. Games and Communication (messaging apps) continue to rock the standings. Sports and Education saw good boosts in ranking but otherwise these lists are more or less the same as they were in 2013. Aside from some placement shuffling, this should also pretty much be the list in 2015 as well.