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Most Android Apps Are Hardly Downloaded At All

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The Android sceptics may be right – 80 percent of paid Android apps have clocked fewer than 100 downloads, according to Distimo research. Free apps are more popular – only 25 percent of them weighed in with fewer than 100 downloads.

Distimo says: “It is more challenging for developers in the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Android Market than in the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) App Store to monetize using a one-off fee monetization model. We found that only two paid applications have been downloaded more than half a million times in the Google Android Market worldwide to date, while six paid applications in the Apple App Store for iPhone generate the same number of downloads within a two month timeframe in the United States alone (Beautiful Widgets and Robo Defense).”

  • Only 96 Android apps have been downloaded more than five million times – the top one being Google Maps (50 million downloads), which on many handsets is set to auto-download updates.
  • “There are five games in Google Android Market with over 250,000 downloads worldwide. In the Apple App Store for iPhone ten games generated more than 250,000 downloads in the United States alone in two months.”
  • Even “the majority (51.8%) of free applications have been downloaded less than 1,000 times to date.”
  • Poor turnover – “During the month of April, there were 94 distinct applications with a top 10 (free or paid) position in the Apple App Store for iPhone in the US; there were only 26 distinct applications that reached a top 10 position in the Google Android Market.”

So, while iTunes Store sells billions of apps, Android Market is a mainly free ecosystem. That means developers should be more inclined to offer free apps with built-in monetisation methods, like advertising or in-app payments.

I’ll make an important caveat here – Android Market has a longer tail, if you like, of poor, single-developer apps that receive no marketing and hence no attention. This could skew the percentage figures – but it doesn’t excuse the specific low figures Distimo is seeing.

The recent introduction of in-app Android payments may help. But, until Google can figure out more ways to encourage people to open a Google Checkout account, in to which is plugged their credit card number, it will be playing catch-up to Apple, whose own store started as a music retailer and now offers multiple things, not just apps, to buy.

The quality of some of those apps is also a factor, of course.

18 Responses to “Most Android Apps Are Hardly Downloaded At All”

  1. NomNomCrApplelicious

    @twitter-16114245:disqus  mrrtmrrt what? haha…. I can’t believe you can ignore the facts and choose to replace them w/ bogus numbers you manipulated to sound good for Apple. Let’s put it this way; SMARTPHONES are what we’re talking about now and that being active devices that are still in use (not iPhones sitting in drawers, etc). In America there are less than 30 million iPhones activated and in use today. That calculated by AT&T and Verizon’s own data on financial reports of current breakdown of user base. We all know iPhone sales are predominantly upgrade sales by a wide margin too!!!

    Now with Android SMARTPHONE activations alone running 400,000 a day x30 that would = 12,000,000 (12 Million) a month and for this quarter we should see over 37 million total activations. If you actually believe Apple sold 33million iPhones, then you have no doubt lost your mind and I feel sorry for you. Here’s the link below that says they sold 16.2 Million iPhones in the 4th quarter. Giving Android Phones an over 2 to 1 advantage. So how many activations of iPhones a day is that for Apple? Less than half the activations of Android’s now 400,000 a day (4th quarter Android was activating 375,000 a day). This means Apple was only activating 178,000 iPhones Worldwide a day during 4th quarter 2010!!!  ……which is obviously far less than half of what Android was activating!

    Note: We’re not talking you grouping iPod Nano Touch (which isn’t iOS), iPod Touches, iPhones and iPads. It should be an Apples to Apples comparison Smartphone OS sales to Smartphone OS sales. Frankly I don’t know where you got iPhone iOS numbers of 33 million, but I’ve just proved your’re wrong!

    btw… your dollars invested in Apple collected another life lost and now makes them out to look evermore blood thirsty. A young Chinese Worker at that iPad 2 production facility that blew up? Jumped from the 3rd floor to kill himself. Apple’s business is beginning to look more and more like “Soylent Green” (blood money) taking place in real life. Your money and Apple’s products? …..are taking on more and more blood stains by the day. That’s Blood spilled at the expense of real people’s lives for your bloody iPads and iPhones!!!

    • melci

      What have smartphones got to do with it?  This article and Distimo’s report is talking about apps downloaded to all Android and iOS devices. The overall OS platform is far more important than just the small subset that is smartphones.  

      Google announced at I/O that 100 million Android devices had now been sold.  In contrast, Apple has sold 187 million iOS devices worldwide, made up of over 100 million iPhones, approximately 70 million iPod touches and around 20 million iPads and as I demonstrated earlier, the vast majority were sold in the last 2 years.  The market is bigger than just the USA silly.

      Oh and all the iPod touch numbers I have quoted do not include the iPod Nano which of course does not run iOS apps.

      *Unit Sales Q4 2010*  (source: Canalys)
      – 32.7 million Android smartphones and tablets (tablets like the Galaxy tab and Dell streak were counted in these numbers because they all have cell phone hardware).
      – 33 million iOS devices (16 million iPhones, 10 million iPod touches, 7 million iPads) 
      Note that Android numbers are inflated by inclusion of the Tapas and OMS forks of Android (which aren’t entirely compatible with Android or running Google apps or services) running on millions of Chinese smartphones

      Rather than accuse me of making up numbers please show some proof that any of these figures are false.  You embarrass yourself otherwise.

      Oh and you don’t seem to be aware that with 920,000 workers, Foxconn’s suicide rate of 1.8 per 100,000 is far lower than that of US college students (12.0) or the general population in the USA (11.2) or the rest of China (13.9) or France (17.0) or Japan (24.4) or Russia (27.1) or males in the USA (17.2).

      Heck the suicide rate amongst MIT undergraduates of 18.1 is ten times that of Foxconn –  maybe they need to take the Soylent Green out of the College’s cafeteria menu.  *rolls eyes*


      • I could not stop laughing well done but some reference would have been nice.

        What was quite a shock was the difference between males and females when it comes to taking their lives. Males where 3 times more likely to take their lives and females says a lot about the male population. 

        This reveals that females at MIT commit suicide at a rate of 6.3 per 100,000 female student years. This compares to a rate of male student suicides at MIT of 16.6 per 100,000 male student years.It has been hypothesized that the overall suicide rate has decreased precisely because women are less likely to commit suicide and their population has grown on campus. Does not bold well for Males.

  2. NomNomCrApplelicious

    CrApple again being blown up like a blow up doll by filthy rich CrAppleholics not presenting all the facts and heavily coloring w/ toxic RDF bullshizt propaganda everything to favor Steve and iCrApple as being the 2nd coming of iJesus with iOS products!

    Truth? CrAppleholics claim App Store has 500,000 apps, when an actual store count of available Apps is around 380,000 as of mid May. While Android Market has seen as much as a three to one App ratio gain and averaging 2 to 1 ratio the last 6months. Many are the same Apps in both stores but for some reason CrAppleholics deny the Android one exists at all or claim it somehow inferior to iOS’s exact same App.

    On top of this, many of the same paid iOS Apps are free and downloaded by more Android users, simply because there are now far more ACTIVATED Android device. Simple logic would dictate that CrAppleholic Bears are living behind “I Bleed 6 Colors” screens w/ their pants down denying REALITY DISTORTION FIELD (RDF) B.S. even exists. Sadly this won’t change even after Android tablet devices thoroughly thump CrApple’s Rear End.

    Afterall they can’t admit that iPWN’d 4 is now just a niche market compared to Android and it’s market growth while hitting actual App count of 700,000 by year’s end. But….. then True CrAppleholic Believers will come up with further bogus claims, exaggerations and finally saying App counts don’t matter now that they’ve been beat. Now it’ll be about Quality of the same App being somehow better on CrApptacular iOS!!!       

    • melci

      Wow, angry much?

      Here’s a few actual facts to bring you back to reality:

      The iOS installed base is actually significantly larger than Android worldwide and in the USA.  iOS quarterly unit sales are close to Android unit sales with Android growth now starting to plateau.

      ComScore reported in April that active iOS devices outnumber Android devices by 59% in the USA and by 116% in Europe, and with total iOS devices sales tracking quite closely to Android devices for the last couple of quarters (32 million Android vs 33 million iOS in Q4 2010 according to Canalys) the gap is not growing smaller very fast.  

      In fact in Q1 2011, for the first time since Android began it’s break-neck growth, NPD reports that Android’s share of quarterly sales in the US smartphone market shrank quarter-to-quarter (by 6% in fact) to 50%.  

      In contrast Apple’s iPhone grew 47% to capture 28% of all smartphone sales in the USA.  IDC reports that Apple had the highest growth of any mobile phone vendor worldwide in Q1 2011 year over year of 115% with second place ZTE growing 45%, Samsung growing 9% and HTC and Moto not even on the chart.

      Google announced at I/O that 100 million Android devices have been shipped since October 2008.  However, 187 million iOS devices have been sold since mid-2007.  

      With only 17 million iPhones shipped in its first two years on the market, with the iPad being only just over a year old and with carrier contracts locking phone users in for 2 years, the vast majority of those 187 million iOS devices are still active.  


  3. Could it have to do with the level of sophistication that iPhone users have compared with Android?   Most iPhone people I know dont realize that you can get many apps for free while all Android users I know, know this.   Meaning that iPhone users pay for things they shouldn’t while Android users dont.

    • Another delusional person. There is an app for iOS that even shows you all the free apps of the day, or which ever way you want to look for. Your analogy failed try again I love reading these fantasies. 

      The apps is called I Like Free, for all you android fangirls.

  4. ClayR

    Or how about spyware? This “research company”, Distimo could have only obtained such data by spyware, otherwise the data would only be available from Google. This just smells of a paid hit piece of an article which unfortunately is not uncommon in the technology circle nowdays.

    Keep in mind that if they are listing
    Beautiful Widgets and Robo Defense as the top two paid downloaded
    apps by spy-ware their data is also skewed by who would download
    their own disguised app. Another words, it looks like it is heavily
    skewed towards the under 25 crowd who by surprise does not have allot
    of disposable income and are not likely to pay for apps when there is
    a free option.

  5. Bob Alexander

    I’m not surprised — nor phased — by the numbers.  I love my Xoom tablet, but it’s not a toy.  I do have Talking Tom Cat for when I visit the grandchildren, but other than that, I’m only interested in business related functionality.  Furthermore, we all know that the game aps and grrrl-ly aps are likely infected with something unpleasant.  iPad is increasingly not a serious platform, a domain that belongs to RIM and (hopefully) increasingly Android.  Aps in the Android market do not take good advantage of the space, functionalilty, speed, flexibility, etc of the platform.  Why on earth would I subscribe to the NYTimes site and the NYTimes app and have it look like it does.  But things are improving.  Did you see how Avaya uses the XOOM tablet as a desktop in their latest phone system?  Now that is an app!

    • I’m not surprised — nor phased — by the numbers.  I love my Xoom tablet, but it’s not a toy. 
      ROFL oh that was a good one. Makes me go back some years to PC people and how the Mac was a toy. 

      Keep dreaming that reality so you can make me LOL. The iPad is such a toy that airlines are now going to use them for their pilots so they don’t have to carry the manuals. No more big thick books just an ipad 2 and easy to find what they need to do when something goes wrong.  

    • melci

      Nope, Apple filters out all the crappy fart apps these days unlike Google.

      45% of the apps in the Android Marketplace are spam apps, over a hundred malware apps have been hosted there and iOS boasts 1,000% more top tier games from the big games publishers EA, ID, Gameloft, Ngmoco, Popcap, Pangea.


    • melci

      Your wish is my command James:

      – Developer income (2010):  $1.782 billion from iOS App Store vs $102 million from Android Marketplace according to IHS Screendigest.
      – Apple captured 82% of the revenue from all app stores in 2010 compared to 5% for Android

      And Android devs aren’t making up the differences with lots of free apps supported by advertising either:

      – 71% of all app downloads were to iOS devices in 2010 according to ABI Research, 5% to Android.
      – iOS users are each worth up to twice as much as Android users to advertisers according to Mobclix


    • Why did you not like what it said. Reality always bytes when its not what you want to see or read. 

      Android market is full of people who want free Apps and for the foreseeable future it will stay like that.

      People who tend to by Apple products overall have more disposable money since there is plenty of Apps been bought without as much as a big complaint about the price. 

      Sure who does not like Free oh wait I hate free which is never free. I rather pay 2 bucks and never see one commercial than pay nothing and have things popping out all the time.