updated 01:05 pm EDT, Thu August 27, 2009
AdMob July 2009
Although just over a year old, Apple's market for third-party apps is 40 times larger than that for Android, researchers at AdMob found today. Based on the percentages of the 26.4 million iPhone owners and 18.6 million iPod touch owners who have paid for apps, as well as the $9.49 average spent per person each month, the online ad firm estimates that Apple should generate about $198 million in August and almost $2.4 billion if that rate was constant for a full year.
The revenue stream is helped by the large portion of these users who buy apps. About 50 percent of iPhone owners have bought apps, while 40 percent of their iPod touch-using counterparts have done the same.
By contrast, Android's app market is disproportionately low. It has a smaller user base of just 3 million, but its customers are half as likely to buy software than iPod touch owners, at just 19 percent. The average amount spent on apps each month is also somewhat lower at $8.63.
Some of the difference is explained in the sheer number of apps downloaded. Android owners download an average of 9.1 apps each month, but only one of these is usually paid; 55 percent of them have never downloaded a paid app at all where less than half of Apple handheld users report behaving the same way. iPhone owners download only 10 but buy about 2.6 apps each in a given month. iPod touch users are relatively prolific and download 18.4 apps per month, although only two of these cost money.
AdMob's data still shows similar actual usage traits, though these vary depending on whether or not a device is a phone. Android phone owners are likely to use phone apps for longer than those on iPhones -- 88 minutes versus 84 -- but iPod touch owners use apps for a much longer 121 minutes, or just over two hours. Why the gap exists isn't known, but it's likely that phone tasks like calls and messaging leave less time for apps.
In all cases, those who bought apps were most likely to have done so because they liked a free demo version enough to pay in. However, many initially find apps simply through browsing rather than recommendations or ads promoting the software outside of a given store. Almost all of these searches are done on the device itself, not the computer used for the sync process.
Besides app data, the July study also shows Apple continuing to dominate mobile Internet traffic with 60 percent of smartphone usage in the US and 45 percent worldwide. Its actual share of the total phone market is down 3 percent worldwide and 6 percent in the US, but this owes less than 1 percent in each case to Android phones like the T-Mobile G1 and more to incremental gains from many regular phones. Android represents 7 percent of worldwide traffic but 12 percent in the US.