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Android developer revenue closing in on iOS

VisionMobile's recent Developer Economics survey has found that the app revenue gap between Android and iOS is shrinking, and Windows isn't doing too bad either.
July 17, 2013

iOS is often touted as the more lucrative platform for developers to sell their apps on, and it’s an all too often sight to see an application launch on Apple’s Appstore before it reaches Google’s Play Store.

However, research conducted for VisionMobile’s recent Developer Economics survey, which tracks changes in the mobile app economy, suggests that Android is finally starting to close the developer revenue gap with Apple’s iOS. The survey, which was released on Wednesday, queried 6,000 mobile developers, covering all of the major mobile platforms, so let’s take a look.

visionmobile android developer revenue 2


For starters, there’s an interesting breakdown of how consumers prefer to purchase their apps on each platform. Most developers opted to make money on Android from in-app advertising and pay per downloads, which is the same as Windows Phone. Apple customers seem to prefer in-app purchases as well as pay per download apps, and BlackBerry 10 makes a fair bit of its money from Freemium products.

visionmobile android developer revenue 1

But despite Android’s larger share of the smartphone market, iOS still manages to make more money for its app developers. However, this new data shows that the gap is closing, with the average app developer making just $500 more a month on iOS than on Android. Windows Phone came in with a relatively strong third place, and, perhaps more interestingly, HTML5 development came in well ahead of the Blackberry 10 platform.

HTML5 seems to be becoming a bit of a developer favourite, which is sure to please users of the new FireFox OS, with 52 percent of developers using HTML5 this quarter, up a couple of percent since last quarter. That puts HTML5 right behind iOS in terms of active developers, with 56 percent of developers currently using Apple’s platform, but still a long way behind Android, which is attracting over 70 percent of all development. This chart shows the data a little better than I can explain:

visionmobile android developer revenue 3

It’s worth noting that only 23 percent of HTML5 development is taking place directly for mobile apps, the other 38 percent is taking place on mobile websites. Only 7 percent of HTML5 mobile development is taking place on platforms using native APIs, such as Firefox OS. Nevertheless, this does suggest that there could be a growing trend towards general web development for mobile, rather than focusing on specific platforms.

Looking at what to expect in the future, the survey also asked the 6000 developers which platforms they are planning on expanding into, if any. The newer platforms, Windows 8, Blackberry10, and Firefox OS, all scored higher than the established iOS and Android platforms.

visionmobile android developer revenue

But, a lot of this is likely down to the fact that these companies are already working on the major operating systems, and are looking for new opportunities in emerging markets.

We’ll have to see if Android can finally close the gap on iOS come the end of the year.