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Google Play Store in 2014 - Makin' it rain

The latest yearly report for the Google Play Store is out and you're not going to believe just how well Google has been doing lately.
June 23, 2014
featured image Google Play Store
The venerable App Annie has recently compiled a report that compares statistics of the Google Play Store last year to the Play Store this year. It’s been an incredible year that has seen some unforgettable app releases and a myriad of improvements, design tweaks, and other enhancements. How has all of Google’s hard work along with the hard work of Android App developers affected the numbers? Let’s take a look!

Number of apps on the Google Play Store

Google Play Store apps published
The stats: There are now over 1.5 million apps on the Google Play Store.
The takeaway: At this point last year the Play Store was just crossing that one million milestone. That’s a 50% increase year-to-year which means a lot more people are publishing apps to the Play Store now than ever before.

Number of downloads from the Play Store

Google Play Store download stats
The stats: The Play Store has seen a steady incline of downloads with 50% more downloads in Q1 of 2014 than in Q1 in 2013.
The takeaway: This keeps pace with the number of published apps which is good news for the Google Play Store. One could argue correlation vs causation and that this is simply a result of more Android phones being activated every day. It’s impossible to determine what is causing the downloads to increase but we are certainly glad that it’s happening.

Google Play Store revenue

Google Play Store revenue
The stats: Google Play Store revenue is 240% higher in Q1 in 2014 from Q1 of 2013.
The takeaway: App developers are making more money than ever in the Google Play Store. It’s unclear from App Annie’s study as to how this compares to iOS but we can’t imagine the gap getting any wider between the two juggernauts. The key here is that there is more money spent in the Google Play Store than ever before by a breathtaking degree and it is still trending up. That is certainly good news for app developers! It is also worth noting that revenue is outpacing the number of downloads. That means that people aren’t just downloading more applications, but they’re spending more money per application. This is a trend we’ve known about for a while.

Google Play Store top markets

Google Play Store top markets
The stats: Four out of the five top Google Play markets saw increases in downloads that ranged from 20% to 260%.
The takeaway: Brazil has entered into the top five for the first time and with its ridiculous 260% download growth and now holds the number two position in the biggest Google Play Markets. Russia has moved into third in downloads with South Korea and India each falling two places to round out the top five. The rest of the top ten is (in descending order) Mexico, Turkey, Germany, Indonesia, and Japan. It’s worth mentioning that Turkey moved up ten spaces and Indonesia is up seven spaces from last year to make this leaderboard which makes those two countries and Brazil the fastest growing markets for Android apps.

Google Play Store top markets for revenue

Google Play Store top revenue
The stats: Every single member of the top five experienced incredible revenue growth from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014. Pretty much at least double for everyone with Germany bringing in an impressive 350% more revenue than last year.
The takeaway: People are spending more money all over the world and that’s only good news. The top five is pretty much the same places as last year with South Korea and the United States as well as Germany and the United Kingdom switching places. The rest of the top ten include Taiwan, France, Hong Kong, Australia, and Russia. It’s worth noting that Taiwan wasn’t on this list last year at all. This means people are spending more money, likely pirating less, and have come to terms with the growing popularity of Freemium applications.

App growth vs game growth

app growth vs game growth google play store
The stats: Games are wildly outpacing applications in both growth and revenue. Games make up for about 90% of all Google Play Store revenue in Q1 2014 vs about 80% at this time last year. Meanwhile, apps (not games) account for about 60% of app downloads.
The takeaway: The downloads are up by 50% from last year but what people are downloading remains pretty much the same as last year. Video games on Android have increased their dominance in terms of revenue and this is likely due to both the increasing popularity of the Freemium model and the general improvement of the games on the platform. In other words people are spending more money on better games than they were last year.

App growth is represented in all categories

app growth google play store
The stats: Every single app category saw increases in growth. All of them.
The takeaway: Communication, Social, and Tools saw particularly large growth rates compared to the rest of the categories. App Annie indicates that Social and Communication both benefited in growth from the increased popularity of messaging apps like Hangouts, Whatsapp, Snapchat, and others.

Freemium is going nowhere

Google Play Store freemium growth
The stats: Freemium saw only moderate growth between Q1 of 2013 and Q2 of 2014. Of course, when you control 98% of the revenue stream like Freemium apps do it kind of doesn’t matter how small the growth is.
The takeaway: With 98% of all Google Play revenue coming through Freemium apps, it’s time to face facts. Given the growth of Freemium games and the growth year to year, it’s not absurd to predict that Freemium apps will be the most popular types of apps by this time next year. This is how developers are making their money on Android and there is no argument as to which method of monetization is the most effective.

Freemium is particularly effective in Asia

Asian markets Google Play Store
The stats: South Korea and Japan have so little revenue from non-Freemium apps we’re surprised they bothered measuring them to begin with. In countries outside of Asia, there are more pronounced revenue streams from paid apps and paid apps with in-app purchases.
The takeaway: People in Asia apparently love Freemium apps. However, it’s worth noting that Freemium is the dominant revenue stream in every country at this point by a very wide margin. When we’re talking about them being more popular in Asia, it’s not by very much. It just looks like that because the other bars have more than one color.

Key takeaways

Here are the big takeaway from App Annie’s analysis of the last year.

  1. Published app growth, download growth, and revenue growth are through the roof compared to last year. In other words, it’s literally all good in the neighborhood in the Play Store.
  2. The biggest reason for growth is gaming. They accounted for 90% of revenue and had the highest growth rates in terms of downloads and apps published.
  3. It’s time to come to terms with the Freemium business model. With 98% of the revenue stream and nearly 50% of all apps downloaded, it’s very clear what the majority of people want. They want Freemium.
  4. Emerging markets such as Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, and Taiwan made a big splash this year.

Many of these stats will be repeated again at Google I/O and likely in more detail. What are your thoughts so far? Is the mammoth growth of arguably the best part of Android making you excited for the future or are you pretty angry at how dominate Freemium is now? Let us know your thoughts.

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