Developers have earned over $80 billion in total from the Google Play Store

Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP at Google, has confirmed on Twitter that to date, developers have earned over $80 billion in total from the Google Play Store globally, excluding the Chinese market (where Google services are not available). This was announced soon after Alphabet’s Q4 earnings call. The disclosure of the cumulative figure motivates software developers to publish their apps on the Play Store, which is the largest app market in the world.

On one hand, the $80 billion amount is definitely an impressive one. However, it pales in comparison to Apple’s more lucrative App Store. In January 2019, Apple confirmed that developers had earned $120 billion from the App Store since 2008. The Play Store was also launched in 2008, although it was then known as the Android Market. Considering that Android has an overwhelming market share advantage globally over iOS, the perception of the $80 billion figure can be viewed in a different light. The disparity in the amount can be easily explained, however. There are more free apps on the Play Store. While app downloads on the Play Store are reportedly higher than the App Store, the higher price tags of Apple devices means that users are more likely to buy paid applications in contrast to users from the developing world, who largely rely on free apps monetized by ads. The demographics of Android and iOS users are different, which has a direct correlation with the earnings of developers on the respective app platforms.

Google hasn’t disclosed the details of the $80 billion amount, so we don’t precisely know which regions are the ones where developers earn the most money from. The actual sales figure of applications on the Play Store will be higher, as Google takes a 30% cut of all developer sales. Android continues to be the most popular operating system globally, but equally, smartphone sales are declining in Western markets because of maturity and saturation. The opportunities for developers are in emerging markets, which have rapidly moved to a mobile-first era. Therefore, it would be fair to expect the $80 billion amount to rise over the next few years.

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