In terms of content volume, Google Play is the largest app store in the world. The number of apps available on Google Play has been continuously increasing since the release of the platform in 2008. After surpassing the one million mark in 2013 and reaching a peak of 3.6 million available apps in early 2018, the number of apps temporarily declined in mid-2018 before growing again. As of 2020, over 3.14 million apps were available for download in the store. Even though the majority of Google Play Store apps are free, Google’s digital content and app platform generates double-digit revenue figures each year from games sales and in-app payments.
Apple’s App Store is the second-largest app store worldwide. The pioneer platform offered close to 2.09 million apps to iOS users at the end of 2020. Although Google has led the ranking of available apps and app downloads for several years, Apple continues to record higher mobile user spending and gross app revenue figures. Among the various app categories and genres driving consumer spending on the world’s first app marketplace, gaming stands out as the largest source of app revenue in the Apple App Store.
While Google Play and the App Store are the most prominent distribution channels for mobile apps, offering almost global coverage to a broad potential audience, a new wave of alternative app stores is gaining a visible foothold in the market. The Chinese app market is growing particularly fast: As the Google Play Store is not available in the country, various Android stores have already been developed; resulting in a fragmented app store landscape. Among the many players, Tencent Appstore held the largest Android app store market share in China as of 2020. Seeing that China is the region with the highest number of mobile app downloads worldwide, the country’s domestic players will likely increase their influence in the years to come.