Mobile War By The Numbers: iOS vs. Android, Apps, Web and More…

Mobile Market Trends 2014 - The Mobile Spoon

Every once in a while I find myself collecting the latest mobile market stats.
Sure, Android is huge with around 80% or so, and BlackBerry/Windows Phone barely exist, and yet, things are not always black & white when it comes to revenues, devices market share, tablets and actual usage.
Android stands for everything which is not iOS, which means the numbers include low-end devices, smartphones wannabes, and all sorts of local manufacturers most of us don’t even know. Those devices are not only a threat to the bigger Android player (such as Samsung and LG), but also also influence the usage level of the operating system and overall satisfaction rate (which is one of the reasons Google invented the Android One program).

In terms of numbers the mobile war is over and Android won.

However, in terms of the numbers behind those numbers (and there are quite a few) – things are still pretty interesting, so here are some interesting figures that will help you better understand what’s going on in mobility from all angles.

Let’s begin with the basics: smartphone sales and overall market share:


Device Sales and OS activations:

2014 introduced some new records which are worth mentioning:

2014 – a record-breaking year for Android in Smartphones sales

Over 1 billion Android smartphones shipped during 2014.
This is a new record in the history of smartphones and keeps Android in the leading position with 81.2% of all smartphones worldwide.

worlwide smartphones marketshare 2014 - mobilespoon


Q4, 2014 – a record-breaking year for iPhone sales and iOS activations

While Android continues to break smartphones sales records, Apple continues to break its’ own profit records mainly thanks to the appearance of iPhone 6.

Apple managed to increase the overall iPhone sales in almost 50% comparing to Q4 2013, raising its net profit to $18.02 billion (a 37.8% year-on-year increase).

In fact, thanks to an incredible 4th quarter, Apple managed to become the world’s largest smartphones vendor again, together with Samsung who suffered from a pretty bad quarter.

Smartphone vendors marketshare 2014 - mobilespoon
(Based on a Strategy Analytics report)

Q4 (US only) - iOS activations: 50%, Android activations: 45%

Looking at the US market, iOS managed to bypass Android in numbers of OS activations. This is something that happens almost in every year during the fourth quarter, as a direct reaction to a new iPhone model..


2014 – Tablets shipments declined for the first time

Almost every family I know owns one or more iPads.
The iPad is a perfect gadget with no flaws (to my opinion at least), and that might be one of the reasons why people do not need to replace it with a new one. (well, that, and also the fact they spent all their money on a new iPhone 6). Apple’s tablet continues to lead the market with 27.6% market share but it’s slowing down.

2014 was the first year in which iPad sales decreased.
In fact, Lenovo is the only player (out of the leading ones) who managed to increase the number of tablet shipments.

Are we witnessing the end of tablets era?

I don’t think so. But if there isn’t a real need to replace an iPad air 1 with an Air 2, nor to buy a new tablet if you already have 1-2 tablets at home then I guess we will continue to see the numbers go down until they stabilize with lower averages.

Tablets marketshare statistics 2014 - mobilespoon

(Based on an IDC Report)


Mobile Usage, Apps, Web:

So now that we understand the numbers, let’s see some usage statistics. You know, those things we do with our beloved gadget after we buy it.

Mobile apps more profitable than showbiz?

Well, not sure about profits, but according to analyst Horace Dediu (Asymco blog), iOS apps generated more revenue than Hollywood movies during 2014.

AppStore bigger than Holliwood revenue - mobilespoon


Mobile apps: Android takes the lead for the first time!

According to AppFigures Google surpassed Apple for number of new apps for the first time in 2014. 
Google Play now holds close to 1.5 Million apps while the Apple AppStore reached around 1.25 Million apps. 

Total apps in app stores mobile 2014 - mobilespoon

The fastest growing iOS categories were: Business (128,000 new business apps in 1 year!), Food, and Lifestyle.
The fastest growing Android categories were: Games, Photography, and Music.

More interesting statistics in here.


Mobile apps: revenues are still higher for iOS apps

Although the total numbers for 2014 are not available for all the platforms yet – there are enough indications (based on the first few quarters and different researches) that iOS apps still generate more money than Android apps.

According to Annie App IndexGoogle Play Downloads 25% Higher Than iOS App Store Downloads in Q3 2014, But iOS Still Generates Over Twice as Much Revenue”:

Mobile apps revenues iOS vs Android - mobilespoon

Another example is mobile puzzle game Monument Valley. The company recently reported that 81% of its in sales came from iOS, as presented below:

Apps sales

This is quite an amazing, as there are more than 4 Android smartphone for every iPhone, and still, the numbers show that iOS apps generated more revenue. The popular explanation is that an owner of a $600 smartphone would spend more on apps than an owner of a $200 smartphone, and Android smartphones average price is $200-$300…


Revenues aside, iPhone owners use their phone more frequently…

So iPhone users are more likely to spend money on apps, which makes sense to some extent, but besides spending money, what other differences can we find in those numbers?

Well, I headed over to NetMarketShare to see what can I learn from this real-time web analytics site.
The site provide market share statistics for internet technologies and when filtered by mobile browsers it shows that iOS and Android are sharing similar numbers (Android: 47%, iOS: 42%). Taking into account that Android holds over 80% of the smartphones market – the numbers clearly show that iOS users are consuming more web content than their Android friends.

web traffic market share - mobilespoon

Why? Similar to apps, we can claim that the users are different, or say that Android Phones Are Basically Used As Dumbphones (although I know many Android addicts that will reject such a statement), but the bottom line is that iOS users use their device to browse through the web 7 times more than Android users.



It’s very easy to fall into the statistics trap: some reports include only smartphones, while others focus on operating systems or specific territories. To get a full picture you need to compile few reports together and do the math yourself.

To me it feels like mobile operating systems now behave similar to the PC world; Apple’s iOS wins in quality (much like it did with MacOS) while Android wins big time in quantity (similar to Windows).

Now, before you accuse me in being an Apple fanatic (which I am not... well… maybe just a little bit…), here’s something to balance my summary: since Android stands for so many different devices and flavors – it’s really impossible to compare it to iOS. Personally I would be very interested to see some comparisons between high-end Android smartphones and iPhones, or high-end Android tablets vs. iPads. I think Apple will still show some better numbers there (in terms of apps and usage), but the differences would probably be smaller.

As for myself, I’m not in those statistics at all.
For the past 6 months or so I’m using the Lumia 1520

Yes, believe it or not I’m with those transparent people no one counts, who use Windows Phone, Microsoft Band, and… Lenovo laptop with a touchscreen…

I’m still counting on Windows 10 to shake things up towards my next year’s summary, and if that doesn’t work out for me (or Microsoft), I will probably find myself in a few months with an iPhone 6 and an Apple Watch


The Mobile Spoon


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Joseph Mikel said…
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