More developers earn $1M via the App Store than Google Play, but the gap is closing

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A report from Sensor Tower finds that more developers still earn their first $1 million from the App Store than Google Play, but the gap is closing.

It’s been fairly common knowledge for some time now that, on average, developers earn more from the App Store over Google’s counterpart—despite the much larger global marketshare of the latter.

Android commands around 73 percent of the global smartphone market compared to 26 percent for iOS. However, Apple continues to attract more customers that are generally happy to pay a premium for their devices and the software running on them.

Sensor Tower’s report highlights that more developers than ever are crossing the $1 million annual income threshold across both the App Store and Play Store.

Just over 900 publishers worldwide are projected to surpass the $1 million income milestone across the App Store and Google Play in 2021, up close to 91 percent over 2016’s total of 475.

Breaking down by platform:

  • The number of iOS publishers exceeding $1 million will reach 581, up from 310 in 2016.
  • Android counterparts will reach 325, up from 165 in 2016.

That means, in percentage terms, the number of $1 million annual income developers is increasing slightly faster via Google Play than the App Store (97% vs 87%)

In 2021, consumers are projected to spend $47.9 billion on Google Play, up 23.5 percent YoY (Year-over-Year). For comparison, App Store growth is projected to be almost six percent lower at 17.7 percent—although generating a much higher $85.1 billion.

Overall, however, developers are still consistently netting their first $1 million via the App Store:

App downloads and spending have rocketed over the pandemic as people adapted to new ways of working, socialising, and generally living. However, this peaked in 2020.

Sensor Tower’s install estimates suggest that consumers “experimented with fewer new apps this year than last, which saw adoption driven to staggering levels at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As the earlier graphic shows, that is why Sensor Tower is predicting the first YoY decline in 2021 for mobile publishers netting their first $1 million—despite remaining comfortably over the numbers in 2019 and earlier.

(Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash)

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