Software & App Know How

Play Store vs. App Store: differences & similarities

  • 21. November 2020
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Whether it’s WhatsApp, the application used by the regional public transportation company, or simply a game to bridge a never-ending lecture at the university – it’s almost impossible to do without one.

Apps are an enormously important market segment in the field of smartphones today. The two top players in this field are the Google Play Store for Android and the App Store for iOS devices. In total, both platforms have almost six million smartphone applications.

Number of Apps

The distribution of the more than six million apps across the two stores is as follows: Currently, there are around 3.3 million apps available on the Google platform. On average, 4,850 apps of various types are added every day. The App Store, on the other hand, is expanding at a much slower pace, with some 2,400 new apps being added to the 2.3 million existing apps every day. This puts Google’s Play Store clearly ahead in these statistics.

Appearance of the stores

The structure of both platforms is very similar: After starting the program, you will be shown current offers, recommendations and popular applications. But that’s about all the similarities: In the App Store you’ll find the category selection in the upper left corner and the wish list in the upper right corner. Below that, the best apps and the latest games await you. Further down are the tabs for top charts, highlights, discover, search and updates.

In the Play Store, on the other hand, a large search bar is already waiting for you at the top. To the left is the menu and to the right the voice function that helps you to search for an app directly via voice instructions. Among them are various other products such as apps, movies, series or books.

Returning an app

Surely you have bought an application before and were so disappointed by its functionality that you wanted to return it. The return policy for apps differs between the platforms of Google and Apple: The App Store offers you a 14-day return policy. If you want to return an application, you must do so through another website and not through the App Store. At reportaproblem.apple.com you can log in with your Apple ID and get a list of your purchases of the last 90 days. Tap on “Problem” next to the application in question and you can return it with a reason. But be careful: Although the purchases of the last 90 days are displayed, you still only have a 14-day right of return.

The Google Play Store gives you even less time to return an app – only 48 hours. You can view your order history on the play.google.com/store/account website. Then tap on the three dots next to the app you want to report and select the “Report Problem” option. Now you can select a reason and initiate the return process via the Google Play Store. If the 48 hours have expired, you will need to contact the app manufacturer directly for a refund.

Payment methods in the stores

In the Google Play Store there is a whole range of payment options: Besides credit and debit cards, PayPal is also accepted. Another possibility is direct billing through your mobile phone provider. Probably the safest option is to pay via Google Play credit or gift cards. Not supported are bank transfers, Western Union, MoneyGram or virtual credit cards.

The situation is similar with Apple: Here you will also need your Apple ID. When you create it, you simply enter your preferred payment method. Credit and debit cards work here just like store vouchers. In addition, there are other payment options in selected countries, including PayPal in Germany.

Free Download vs. Obolus

For some apps, the manufacturer requires a small financial contribution, but you can download and install most of them free of charge on your smartphone. The Google Play Store offers 93 percent of the apps for free. Apple, on the other hand, demands a small financial consideration for 14 percent of its apps – which means that 86 percent can still be downloaded free of charge. Despite this remarkably high number of free applications, apps are an enormously important source of income for both companies, as the next point shows.

Monetary expenditure of the companies

In 2008, Apple was the first company to establish the App Store and has since paid around 70 billion US dollars to its developers. In 2016 alone, the figure was around 30 billion dollars – and rising. Apple, on the other hand, took in 8.8 billion dollars in the same year, accounting for around four percent of the year’s total revenue. According to estimates, Google recorded expenditure of around 18 billion dollars in 2016 through the development of apps. The revenue of 5.4 billion dollars, on the other hand, represented about six percent of the annual turnover.

App downloads market share

In global terms, app downloads increased by about eight percent last year. Google’s Play Store accounts for ten percent of this and its counterpart in Silicon Valley for six percent. This development shows that the gap between the two providers continues to widen: In the third quarter of 2017, a total of 26 billion apps were downloaded; 18.5 billion of these were in the Google Play Store and only 7.5 billion in the App Store. Google is benefiting from the growth in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia and Vietnam, where the numbers have increased very strongly.

The Google Play Store and the App Store differ in the following points

  • With 3.3 million, the Google Play Store offers more than one million apps than the App Store.
  • The external appearance of both platforms is in part very similar.
  • The App Store offers you a 90-day right of return, the Google Play Store only 14 days.
  • Both platforms offer similar payment methods.
  • In the Google Play Store you get 93 percent of the Apps for free, in the App Store under iOS you get only 86 percent.
  • Both companies have billions of dollars in expenditure for the development of the applications.
  • The Google Play Store has a download volume more than twice as high as the App Store.

Which app did you last download? Were you satisfied with the service and quality? Tell us about it in the comments.