Google Play has many more users, but it does not generate substantially more revenue in the U.S. than the Amazon Appstore.
The top 200 apps in Google Play generated $5.2 million in March, only 1.7 times what the same number of top apps in Amazon’s store brought in, according to app analytics firm Distimo.
Of course, Google almost certainly has a longer tail than the Amazon Appstore. At last check, Amazon Appstore had 75,000 apps while Google Play has over 700,000. That means Google Play has a much larger base of apps — beyond the top-ranked titles — from which to draw revenue,
Nonetheless, it’s striking that Google Play does not have a much larger revenue advantage over Amazon for the top 200 apps, given how many Android devices are in consumer hands.
As of February, approximately 69 million Americans use an Android smartphone, and several million more use an Android tablet. Amazon launched the Kindle Fire in late 2011, and we estimate that a total of 15 million units have been sold through year-end 2012.
Of course, not all Android devices necessarily have Google Play installed. But many if not most do, and Google Play’s list for supported devices runs to over 1,000.
In terms of free downloads, Google Play does have a more significant advantage. For the top 200 free apps, Distimo estimates that Google Play downloads were roughly 10 times the size of the Amazon Appstore.
Amazon’s early success with its Appstore is significant because it gives it an important beachhead should it choose to pursue its long-rumoured smartphone. Now that Amazon has proven that it can deliver money to developers, it should have no problem attracting them to a smartphone.
Google, meanwhile, needs to do more to help developers monetise Google Play apps.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.