Google Play is starting to gain on Apple’s App Store when it comes to app revenue. In Q4 2012, Apple’s store saw four times more sales than Google Play did, while in Q1 2013 that number has dropped to 2.6 times.

The latest figures come from the App Annie Index report, which also noted Google’s Android market has seen higher growth rates than Apple’s iOS equivalent. Nevertheless, while Google Play has reached close to 90 percent of the App Store’s downloads in Q1 2013, the latter still maintains a strong lead.

app annie q1 2013 730x270 App Annie: Google Play app revenue grew 90% in Q1 2013, but Apples App Store still saw 2.6 times more sales

App Annie also offered a few category-specific findings:

  • Games remained the leading growth driver, especially for revenue, across many countries including big players such as the US, China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea. In Q1 2013, the category grew to cover approximately 80 percent of revenue in Google Play and 70 percent in the App Store.
  • Photo and Video apps grew to become the third largest in iOS downloads while Education apps increased in iOS revenue to become the fourth largest worldwide.
  • Social grew in Google Play downloads to enter the top five category rankings.

Android countries

For Android, the top five countries by downloads were the US, South Korea, India, Russia, and Japan. The first four represented roughly 40 percent of store downloads in Q1 2013. Russia has been rising steadily in downloads over the past year and moved up another slot to grab fourth place this past quarter. South Korea and India have maintained their second and third places behind the US.

By revenue, Japan was first, followed by South Korea, the US, the UK, and Germany. Japan actually moved ahead of the US into the top spot in Q4 2012, and now South Korea has moved ahead of the US into the second spot in Q1 2013. These three countries dominate Google Play, covering approximately 70 percent of its worldwide revenue.

iOS countries

For iOS, the top five countries by downloads were the US, China, the UK, Japan, and France. The US continues to maintain a substantial lead as the top-­ranking country but China has started to gain momentum in recent months. In fact, the country was the leading contributor to the increase in iOS downloads between Q4 2012 and Q1 2013. Meanwhile, the UK and Japan have been alternating between the third and fourth ranks over the past year. The first four countries alone have been driving roughly half of total iOS downloads, according to App Annie.

By revenue, the top five countries were the US, Japan, the UK, China, and Australia. The US and Japan remain the leaders, taking responsibility for close to half of total store revenue. Just like by downloads, China’s move up the iOS revenue ranks cannot be missed: last year, it was barely inside the top 10 and now it has moved from sixth place in Q4 2012 to fourth in Q1 2013.

Looking ahead for 2013

When it comes to market share, Android shows no signs of slowing down in its fight to take on iOS worldwide. The latter’s popularity in the US is simply not enough, and this is starting to reflect in app store results. Before the year is up, Google Play will have either passed Apple’s App Store in some of the aforementioned metrics, or will be nipping at its heels.

See also – Android grabs 75.0% market share in Q3, followed by 14.9% for iOS and 4.3% for BlackBerry and comScore: Apple increases lead as top US smartphone maker, Samsung gains; Android down second month in a row

Top Image Credit: Andreas Solaro/Getty Images