updated 09:00 pm EDT, Tue March 27, 2012
Growing at the same pace as all of Google Play
Distimo, a market analysis firm specializing in app marketplaces and analytics, has released a report covering two years of the iOS App Store with a particular focus on iPad apps, along with some comparison with the re-named Android Marketplace, now called Google Play. Among the findings, iPad users are more willing to pay for premium content through Newsstand, that the US remains the highest-grossing country, and that in-app purchases are popular on iOS only.
An interesting statistic reveals that if the iPad was broken out from the iPhone/iPod Touch category in the App Store, it would be the third-largest app marketplace all by itself, falling behind Google Play, but would unsurprisingly be the largest tablet-only store by far, with no other market even coming close. The number of iPad-compatible apps in the iOS App Store is pegged at 180,000 (not counting iPhone apps that would run on the iPad at iPhone size), about the size of all categories of Google Play's Android apps combined. The number of iPad-compatible apps is roughly equal to the number of iPhone/iPod Touch only apps, around 200,000.
The study found that iPad apps are five times more likely to have the option for in-app purchases (IAP), with about 10 percent of apps having the option. Six percent of iPhone-only apps had the option, while only two percent of all Android apps featured IAP. When the study narrowed down to the 200 top-grossing apps from each store (breaking out the iPad and iPhone stores as separate), it found that 74 percent of iPad apps, 80 percent of iPhone apps and only 56 percent of Android apps utilized IAPs.
The Samsung Appstore, which Distimo has recently started tracking, may provide a clue to how many Android apps exist that are aimed at tablets. While not every Android developer may yet be in the Samsung store, it shows around 32,000 apps available for tablets. Many Android tablet apps, however, have received fierce criticism for being "blown up phone apps" from independent critics, echoing the sentiments of Apple CEO Tim Cook on the subject.
As reported earlier, China has eclipsed the US as the largest market for free applications, though the US remains the top-grossing country for paid and IAP categories. The study found that iPad users are paying more than $70,000 per day by the top 100 grossing Newsstand publications in the US. NewsCorp's The Daily is still outperforming The New York Times, but the trend six months after Newsstand launched as a separate app shows that readers are taking advantage of the option of digital subscriptions and purchases.
The summary reports is available for free download from Distimo with an account sign-up.