Apr 2, 2012
Selling Android apps isn’t easy. This is a mantra that Android developers, especially the smaller ones, keep repeating. Supporting many more devices for a fraction of the revenue compared to iOS can be extremely frustrating.
What doesn’t help is that the main market for selling Android apps, Google Play, is particularly difficult to make money off of. Just how difficult? Well, according to Flurry, Android apps on Google Play earn 23% of the revenue as they do on the iOS App Store. That does not mean that everywhere on Android is such a barren revenue wasteland, though.
Apparently, apps on the Amazon Appstore are generating 89% of the revenue that they do on iOS. Not as good, but in the same ballpark, and it’s far ahead of Google Play.This may be due to the fact that Amazon has a more curated marketplace than Google. They also offer wider varieties of pricing, including the ability to take a paid app for free, though the actual positive benefits are mixed-to-unknown for going free on the store. Most importantly may be that Amazon has a specialized device designed for content consumption available for a low cost, that can only access this store out of the box: the Kindle Fire.
While volume is still the big concern for the Amazon Appstore versus Google Play, this does show that if Amazon keeps expanding its store, through either selling more Kindle Fires, continuing free app promotions, or even convincing carriers that they need to be on their devices from day 1 in order to expand their reach, and strike at the heart of Google Play.
The fact that Amazon is an established commerce company, especially compared to Google, helps as well. Everyone on the internet probably has bought something from Amazon at some point, even at some recent point, and has payment details on file. Google was getting many users’ payment information for the first time, and it could simply be a case where users are just simply too lazy to put in their credit card information for that first time, because that’s work, and do they really need that app? This is a particular hurdle, and the lack of any kind of gift card or promo code system continues to be a major hurdle.
Convenience is a killer feature. The fact that Apple had so much iTunes payment info when the App Store launched should not be underestimated when realizing their success. Amazon being in a similar position, along with potentially smarter strategies for selling content, may be why the Amazon Appstore is just so much more successful at this point than Google Play. Still, Android and Google Play have been around for a while. At some point, the convenience of already having payment info is likely to equalize. Will the Amazon Appstore still be the leader? If so, it may indicate that there’s more to Google Play’s failings than just pre-entered credit card info.