During the I/O developer conference, Google released some numbers that sounded impressive but could actually be bad news for the mobile development industry. Google revealed that it has one billion active monthly Android users and that it has paid $5 billion to developers over the past year. Benedict Evans from Andreessen Horowitz compared those numbers to Apple’s iOS platform and reached a striking conclusion: “Google Android users in total are spending around half as much on apps on more than twice the user base, and hence app ARPU [average revenue per user] on Android is roughly a quarter of iOS.”
There are several possible reasons for the disparity between Android and iOS. First of all, Android phones cost less than iPhones and they are more common in low-income countries; Android users may just have less money to spend. Also, Android doesn’t require users to give them a credit card number, which impedes the sales process. In addition, it could be that developers are more attracted to iOS because of the higher profits, and Android users may just not have as many good apps to spend money on.