Android vs iOS Market Share Battle: Who Leads in 2023?
Curious which mobile OS is the most popular today? We’ve got you covered, with the latest iOS vs Android market share.
The mobile operating system market is a clear duopoly, as it has been for some time. Most people have their preference between Android and iPhone, and if you poll people on the street, you’re going to get different answers every time.
So who actually comes out the winner in the Android vs iOS debate? Read on to find out.
Android vs iPhone Market Share: Which Smartphone OS is More Popular?
Android currently holds 71% of the worldwide mobile operating system market share, compared to 28% for iOS*.
With over 6 billion smartphone users worldwide, that means there are approximately 4.26 billion Android devices, against 1.68 billion iOS devices.
This data point indicates that Android is the most popular mobile operating system. However, if we dive deeper, it gets a lot more interesting.
*Latest data via Statcounter
Key Android vs iOS Statistics
We can learn a lot more about the leading mobile operating systems than what the worldwide split tells us. Let’s go deeper, and look at iOS vs Android in terms of location, trends, apps and more.
iOS vs Android Market Share in the US
In the USA, iOS has 57% of the mobile operating system market share, compared to 42% for Android, completely flipped from the global market share statistics.
So while Android is the leading mobile operating system worldwide, Americans on the whole prefer iPhones.
Android vs iOS Market Share Around the World
Let’s look at the global smartphone market, comparing Android vs iPhone users in different regions and countries.
We’ve seen that users in the US prefer iPhones. In the UK, the split between Android devices and Apple devices is almost even, with iOS holding 51% market share.
In Canada, iOS has 61% market share. In Germany, Android is the leader with 60% market share. In China, Android leads the way with 76% market share, while Android is also a big winner in India, with 95%.
Here’s how it breaks down by continent.
- iOS market share: 54%
- Android market share: 45%
- iOS market share: 34%
- Android market share: 65%
- iOS market share: 18%
- Android market share: 81%
- iOS market share: 15%
- Android market share: 82%
- iOS market share: 13%
- Android market share: 86%
- iOS market share: 56%
- Android market share: 43%
As we can tell from the data above, iOS is more popular in North America and Australia/New Zealand. Android smartphones are more popular by around 2 to 1 in Europe, and significantly more popular in Asia, Africa and South America, which is why more people worldwide use Android OS than iOS.
Mobile Operating System Market Share: 2009-Present
Android is the global leader in terms of smartphone operating system today. But how has that changed over the years?
Here are the figures year-by-year, tracing back to 2009:
As the data shows, the Android operating system only emerged significantly in the early 2010s, overtaking iOS in market share in 2012. Android passed 70% in worldwide market share in 2017, and the share between Android users and iOS users has held steady ever since.
In terms of the US mobile OS market share, iOS has held a consistent lead over this time. Apple’s market share has held steady, and while Android has emerged on the scene (as it has worldwide too), it has not yet overtaken iOS in the US market.
Mobile OS Market Share Trends in the US
Here’s what the US market trend looks like:
Android vs iOS App Store Statistics
How do these statistics translate to the app market? Does the higher market share for Android translate to more apps in the Google Play Store?
Let’s check the data (sourced from 42matters):
The Google Play Store has a little over 2x the total number of apps, and around 1.5x the number of publishers as Apple.
Both app stores have a similar share of paid apps vs free apps and gaming apps vs non-gaming apps, with the large majority being free, non-gaming apps.
iOS vs Android Revenue Statistics
The next thing we’ll look at is the commercial side of the Android vs iOS debate. Which operating system delivers more revenue for app publishers?
Here are some key statistics on the topic (via BusinessofApps):
- Total app and game revenue (all operating systems): $129 billion
- iOS app and game revenue: $86.8 billion
- Android app and game revenue: $42.3 billion
Despite lower overall market share and fewer apps available, iOS apps on the whole make more money, responsible for 67% of total consumer spending on apps, over double of the Android app market.
- Total gaming app revenue: $81.3 billion
- iOS gaming app revenue: $50 billion
- Android gaming app revenue: $31.3 billion
Specifically for gaming apps, the gap is slightly closer, with iOS still ahead with 61% of overall consumer spending on mobile games.
- Total app (non-gaming) revenue: $47.8 billion
- iOS app revenue: $36.3 billion
- Android app revenue: $11.5 billion
iOS is again ahead in terms of non-gaming app revenue, with 75% of the overall consumer spend.
- Total subscription app revenue: $17.1 billion
- iOS subscription revenue: $13.2 billion
- Android subscription revenue: $3.9 billion
iOS has 77% of all subscription revenue in the app market.
Summing up, iOS is responsible for around 2/3rds of consumer spending on apps, with the biggest difference coming in non-gaming apps, particularly apps monetized via subscriptions.
Android vs iOS Market Share (Tablets)
One more thing to look at in terms of Android vs iOS is their market share for tablets.
According to data from Statcounter, iOS currently has 52% of the tablet operating system market share, compared to 47% for Android.
This has evened out significantly in recent years. Apple more or less invented the tablet market with the iPad, and as such, in 2012 they had a commanding 85% of the market share for tablets.
Today, however, all major smartphone manufacturers also make tablets, as a result bringing the overall market share close to 50/50.
These numbers are almost exactly the same in the US as they are worldwide, with no major difference as there is for Android vs iOS smartphone market share.
Other Players in the Mobile Operating System Market
You’ll notice that, if the market share for Android is 71% and the Apple market share is 28%, there’s 1% missing.
To be more exact, this missing market share is actually less than 1%, but there are other mobile operating systems on the market besides Google's Android OS and Apple's iOS.
Currently, the mobile operating systems that hold >0.01% market share are:
- Samsung (0.345)
- KaiOS (0.1%)
- Windows (0.02%)
- Linux (0.01%)
In addition, 0.13% of mobile devices run unknown operating systems, and 0.02% run another OS not mentioned above.
The market share for these operating systems is obviously extremely low, so it’s hard to see any challengers for Android and iOS in the near future.
If we go back a little over ten years to 2012, the landscape looked a lot different. Neither Android nor iOS powered the majority of smartphone devices. The leader was SymbianOS, an early mobile operating system commonly found on Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson devices.
Over the first half of 2012, iOS and Android were close behind, and other operating systems like Samsung, Blackberry, Series 40 and Sony Ericsson were among others with 1% or more of the market.
Flash forward to the start of 2023, and there are now only two operating systems worth mentioning.
Is it Better to Develop Android or iPhone Apps in 2023?
We’ve got all this data about the market share for various operating systems on the market today.
But what does it mean for businesses, or app developers? If you’re launching an app, which platform is best?
Should you launch on Android, to reach a greater percentage of the worldwide market? Or does iOS make sense, for its greater market share in the US, along with higher consumer spending figures and less competition in the app store?
There is a right answer to this: both. If you’re building an app today, you want to launch on Android and iOS.
Unless there’s a specific reason to build for only one platform (for example, if you’re building an internal company app and all your company’s devices are on Android), you want to capture as much of the market as possible.
By building for Android and iOS, you have the ability to get in front of over 99% of the market. You don’t risk excluding potential users of your app because you felt you had to make a difficult choice and limit yourself to just one platform.
The one potential downside to building for both Android and iOS is that it may cost 2x as much. If you choose to build natively, you’ll need two separate teams of developers to build each app, which makes the project more complex - not to mention making it more difficult to keep all your platforms maintained and up to date.
But there’s an easier way today to launch on all the platforms you need to, without incurring massive costs.
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