Developing an app? Wondering which platform to choose first, iOS or Android, here are some tips and facts that might affect your decision. 

Sharing the mobile market and users loyalty, the competition between Google and Apple, has turned into a two-horse race. You can easily start a holy war just asking ”iOS or Android?” on some forum / party or any conversation thread. 

Talking about Google Play and App Store, both of them have their pros and cons, but when it comes to comparing, the main benchmark is their monetary value or, in other words, how much do users spend on app purchases. It not only comes for amount of apps, being downloaded, but for the total revenue, generated by developers. Since the major goal of developing an app is gaining income, it’s very important to be aware of statistics which OS supports the most app purchases.

Most likely, it would be no surprise, that iOS apps earn 75% more money than Android counterparts. But here comes the question, does App Store have more apps than Google Play? 

The statistics say that in 2017 Android users can choose between 2.8 millions of apps, while iOS users have only 2.2 millions of apps available for downloading. 

So, the big question is why having the wider choice, Android users spend less money on apps, than Apple users? 

Budget and demographics

The cost of devices is the determinative factor why users decide to buy Android smartphones. Generally, Apple smartphones are more expensive than an average Android smartphone, not taking into consideration the flagman devices like Samsung S8 or Google Pixel 2, which catch up at a price of iPhone 7. The majority of users, choosing cheaper handsets, are not tent to spend extra on apps, they would rather buy iPhone if it was more affordable. 

Another interesting pattern is the dominance of Android in low-income countries. The number of apps downloads here is rather high but almost no revenue for developers. It seems, that users in such regions either can’t afford to buy apps or just deliberately avoid to pay for apps and use only free products. 

Moreover, Google only encourages such situation and launches Android One - low-cost line of budget devices, generally sold in developing world. Sundar Pichai, Product Chief & Designated CEO of Google noted that the initiative was created to make it more affordable for users in such countries to possess a smartphone with a great software experience. 

Considering such wide prevalence of Android devices in developing regions, another prosaic reason appears - you need a credit card to buy apps, but unfortunately, not all the users do have banking accounts. So, that means only rich countries can afford to buy apps? 

Users’ engagement

We all agree that people nowadays are really obsessed with their smartphones and seem to spend all the time looking at the screen. But how much time do they really spend using their devices? 

According to the last research, an average adult in US spends about 2 hours 50 minutes a day with smartphones in hands.  A little of arithmetics and we get about 86 hours or 3,5 days a month! 

But what about Apple vs Android? Whose users spend more time with their phones? As you might guess, iPhone users are more engaged with their devices than Android users and the difference is about 26 minutes a day. 

Being more price-conscious, Android users are less bound to their smartphones, because they don’t seek to much value out of them. Meanwhile, an average iPhone user, having spent a lot on their smartphone, like to increase its’ capability buying extra apps. 

What does it mean for developers?

Since iOS users historically spend more money on apps, both developers and marketers use this statistics to plan their strategy and budgets. When the budget for application development is limited, developers have to choose which platform to build first, iOS or Android. As you understand, most of them prefer to create apps for more paying audience, and benefit as soon as possible. Considering the statistics, demographics, and all the factors mentioned about, developing an iOS app seems to be the most relevant. But that’s how we all get into the vicious circle: most of the worthwhile apps are made for IPhones, so Android users don’t even have a chance to spend money on them. At the same time, Google Play is full of free analogs of the paid apps, so users always have an alternative and have no need to purchase extra software. 

Besides the monetary pitfalls, there are also technical ones in Android development. Android apps take 28% more time to be completed and require much more maintenance checks due to the variety of devices which run on this operational system.  

Bottom line

So, the key theses are:

iOS users spend more time with their smartphones
The competition on the Google store is higher than in App Store
92% of iOS users would like to return to Apple for their next phone 
Only 77% of users would return to Android
iOS apps make 75% more money than Android apps
Most of developers prefer to develop iOS app due to increased revenue

Choosing between this to markets, consider all the needs of Your target audience and make the right choice!