App developer working
Android could beat iOS in sales in 2017. Image: Cellock Ltd.

App Annie published a new report earlier this Wednesday, showing projections for iOS and Android app market behaviors over the next four years. By the end of 2017, the combined revenue on Google’s platform will surpass that on Apple’s.

When the organization talks about Android revenue, it refers not only to the official Google Play store but also to third-party markets like those offered by Huawei and Xiaomi, for example.

The estimated trends from this year through 2021 show no significant shift in any given area, except when we combine all marketplace platforms for Android apps. Still, iOS remains a safer bet for developers who truly want to make a profit.

China is an issue for Google and Android’s profit

By the end of the year, Google Play will make approximately $21 billion on 114 billion official app downloads. This is up just $4 billion from last year’s revenue in roughly half the amount of downloads.

In contrast, other Android markets will register as much as 61 billion downloads in 2017, up from 55 billion last year. However, this small increase is projected to double the profits year over year, from $10 to $20 billion when the year ends.

For Google, these third-party Android stores represent a major downside when it comes to attracting developers. The tech giant’s mobile OS doesn’t have a proper presence in China, so phone makers develop their own stores much like they design their custom UIs to run on top of Android.

Only combining Google Play’s $20 billion and other stores $20 billion they surpass Apple’s $40 billion in revenue by the end of 2017. The goal for Alphabet’s company should be finding a way to penetrate into these markets and absorb their shares to take over Cupertino.

Developers prefer Apple when it comes to making money

Apple also has the upper hand in the game market because iPhone and iPad users are simply more likely to spend money on the applications, games, and content they want to download from the App Store.

Perhaps it is because they already feel like the premium for brand devices is high enough that spending some money in an app is not that big of a deal. This definitely is not the case with the comparatively cheaper Android phones made by most manufacturers.

A higher percentage of Apple users will pay to download an app, while just a fraction of Android fans will spend money on Google Play. This is also why developers prefer to release their products on the App Store first and then hit the competing platform.

Apple will make $60 billion from 42 billion downloads by 2021, while Google will make just $42 billion on nearly 200 billion app downloads in the same year. 112 billion downloads on third-party Android stores will rake in $36 billion.

Source: App Annie