Apps, apps everywhere, but just how big is Apple's app economy anyhow? Chances are, it's bigger than you think. According to mobile ad startup AdMob, $200 million in apps are downloaded each month, making the App Store worth about $2.4 billion per year. To place that in context, that's slightly less than the nominal gross domestic product of Somolia, and quite a bit more than the GDP of Central African Republic.
By comparison, Android is raking in about $5 million per month for a grand total of $60 million annually. One reason for the disparity between Apple's app proliferation and Android's lagging numbers stems from the fact that the iPhone represents 60% of U.S. smartphone usage.
But all the "iPhone v. Android" brouhaha has overshadowed one of the main catalysts behind the App Store's success: the iPod Touch. Android and iPhone users download an average of 10 new apps per month, whereas iPod touch owners average 18 downloads. IPod Touch owners also download twice as many free apps as Android and iPhone users, and research has shown that users of free "lite" versions of apps are more likely to pay up for the complete versions.
But the bottom line is, App Store customers are far more likely to buy at more than one app per month, creating a consistent stream of revenue rolling through the store—50% of iPhone users and 40% of iPod Touch users buy at least one app per month. A paltry 19% of Android users make that monthly commitment. That generates, on average, $5 per month from iPhone/iPod Touch users; Android users simply aren't that reliable.