Android Apps Cost 2.5 Times More Than iPhone Apps

Canalys survey reveals disparities in the price of paid-for content between the two markets

A recent App Interrogator survey conducted by analysis firm Canalys has revealed that paid-for apps on the Android market are on average two and a half times the cost of apps made for the iPhone.

In the US, the total cost of purchasing the top 100 paid-for apps on the iOS market would be $147 (£93) compared to $374.37 (£236.83) on the Android platform.

Pricing and popularity

Canalys’ study of just the top 10 or 20 in each market revealed that  iPhone users could expect to pay an average of $0.99 or $1.04 respectively, whereas Android users would pay $3.47 or $4.09 respectively – more than triple the former’s cost. Similar results were seen across all five countries surveyed (Germany, Britain, the US, India and Singapore).

“Apple’s App Store and the Android Market are very different retail environments. The former is now a mature but still very closely controlled retail environment, while the latter remains more open but also less secure and consumer friendly,” said Canalys senior analyst, Tim Shepherd, in a statement.

“As such, developers and publishers use the stores in different ways. Electronic Arts, for example, regularly offers discounts across its portfolio of games in the App Store to ensure they remain visible to customers by featuring in the top app lists.”

Shepherd highlights Monopoly as one such app that is notably different in its pricing strategy between operating systems, selling at $4.99 on Android and $0.99 on iOS.

Canalys’ research points out, however, that in US stores only 19 apps appear in both top 100 lists, and they are usually priced similarly. This suggests a vast difference in what paid-for apps achieve popularity on either market.

Pricing would appear to be a key differentiator in this as the study reveals 82 of the top 100 iPhone apps in its US store are priced at $0.99, compared to only 22 in Android’s US market. This would imply that lower prices on iPhone apps (facilitated by developers’ discounts) help developers climb up the top 100. On the Android market, by contrast, pricing plays a lesser role in driving downloads.

“Selling more apps at higher prices is the Holy Grail for developers, but achieving big volumes of paid apps on Android is no small challenge,” said Rachel Lashford, managing director of mobile and APAC at Canalys. “More aggressive price competition around Android apps would help to encourage more consumers to make their first app purchases, drive greater download volumes, and ultimately be good for the vibrancy of the app ecosystem.”

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