Is there an Android app market?

Original author: Alwin Hoogerdijk
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If you are developing and selling applications for the iPhone, then you might think about the question: “Should I make an Android version?”

Is there really an Android app market?

In general, yes, it does, but its size may be smaller than you think.

In any case, if you are trying to assess the potential market for the Android version of the existing iOS application, do not limit yourself to studying the number of Android devices sold . And do not even think about judging the market by the number of requests from users. Two words: active minority .

The average owner of an Android device is a beast that is very different from a typical iPhone owner, and his appetite for applications is completely different.

Let’s take a look at a recent market research followed by my data on apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Android Market Share

In early November, Gartner presented the results of a study on the smartphone market in the 3rd quarter of 2010:

  • iOS market share: 16.7%
  • Android market share: 25.5%

That is, in the third quarter, the number of Android devices sold was approximately 50% higher than the number of iPhones sold. Of course, a significant number of iPhones were sold earlier, but, nevertheless, everything looks like Android is gaining strength, and quickly. Data

I’ll tell you about my experience selling applications for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Survey results

In July, we conducted a survey on mobile devices in order to find out whether it makes sense for us to develop mobile applications for platforms other than iOS (iPhone and iPad).

Here are the answers to the first question: “What mobile device (s) do you have?”.

Even then, I had a feeling that Android users were somewhat different from fans of Apple products, so the second question was: “How many applications did you purchase for your device?”. Here are the results for iPhone and Android:

Important data from the July survey:

  • There are twice as many iPhones as Android phones.
  • Androids are about 50% bigger than iPads.
  • IPhone users buy more apps than Android users.

Android vs iPad: New Clubs

So, we decided to start developing applications for the iPad and Android. When we were close to completion, we opened a Novelties Club for each platform. (The novelty club is our name for access to applications not yet released, club members can get more information about future applications, see screenshots and receive news on how things are going.)

After a couple of weeks, the number of Club members settled down to the following values:
  • Android Club: 3,286 members
  • IPad Club: 3,531 members

Interestingly, although 50% more users own Android devices, iPad users are more interested in getting the app on their device.

Android vs. iPad: First-Week Sales

Fast forward a couple of months, to the beginning of October, when we released CLZ Movies, our first app for iPad and Android. We actively promoted both versions among the respected members of the New Clubs and all owners of Movie Collector (desktop program - approx. Translator) . Here are the sales data for the first week for both versions:

  • CLZ Movies for Android: 430 sales
  • CLZ Movies HD for iPad: 895 sales

The number of versions sold for the iPad is more than twice as high.

iPhone vs. Android vs. iPad: Weekly Sales

Now let's try to compare sales for all three mobile platforms in a regular week, that is, a week when sales are not affected by the recent release, sending out letters, etc. Here are my details for a quiet week in November:

  • CLZ Movies for iPhone: 79 sales
  • CLZ Movies HD for iPad: 97 sales
  • CLZ Movies for Android: 46 sales

Please note that the versions for iPad and Android are still fairly new and can be purchased by existing customers. That is, there may be a residual reaction to a recent release. At the same time, the version for the iPhone was released in May 2009 and has not been updated since December 2009 ...

Nevertheless, the version for the iPhone is sold 71% better than the version for Android. The version for the iPad is generally sold twice as good.

Why do Android users buy fewer apps?

What's happening? Why is the average Android user much less likely to buy apps for his smartphone?

I heard one reason at the very beginning of the development of Android. Allegedly, Android users are more technically savvy, imbued with the spirit of Linux, loving open source, confident that Android applications should be free, like the operating system itself. But I do not think that this is the reason for the effect that I see among my public.

My guess: the Android operating system is now used in an increasing number of devices, including budget models of smartphones. These days, Android phones are being sold to many users who may not need a smartphone, or at least don't need apps for it. Such users simply bought a new phone (or received for free with a contract) in which, as it happened , the Android operating system. And they were taken into account when calculating the market share.

An iPhone user is someone who has consciously chosen an iPhone because of its capabilities, cool interface, application availability, etc. A completely different beast.

So ... is it worth it to make an Android version of your iPhone app?

All of the above may look like I'm sorry about the time and money spent on developing Android versions of my iPhone applications. But this is not so. Our Android versions sell well and generate a nice additional income every month. And if you look at the statistics from Gartner, then the income is likely to only increase. The time spent on development is fully justified.

But I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed. Based on the amount of news about Android and the large number of requests (read: requirements) from users, I just expected more sales.

I can’t predict what will come of porting youriPhone applications on Android. It completely depends on your audience (business or home users), the type of application and whether you sell applications as add-ons for existing users or as separate applications. My audience consists of home users. My applications are niche and I sell them only to existing users, which means my independence from the rating in the App Store.

In the business field, Android owners can be as greedy for applications as the average iPhone owner. And for individual applications, the probability of being noticed in the Android Marketplace may be higher than in the Apple App Store (fewer applications). A lot of things affect.

In any case, I hope that my data will give you some idea about the real application market .for Android, not the Android device market .

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