Is it possible to make money from a free app on Google Play? According to Statista it certainly is. Based on data from App Annie, Statista created a chart that shows that both free and paid apps are among the 100 highest-grossing apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Among its most interesting findings was the fact that 96% of Google Play's highest-grossing apps are free. That means that just 4% of Google Play's highest-grossing apps generate revenue through the cost charged to download them!
Looking at Statista's chart, you'll also see that 77% of the top-grossing iPhone apps and 69% of the top-grossing iPad apps are free in the Apple App Store. The fact that these numbers are so much lower than those for Android is not surprising: it's a well-known fact that Android users do not like to pay for apps. But how do apps generate revenue if they are free to download? Free apps generate revenue through advertising and/or in-app purchases such as app extensions.
Though free apps account for such a large portion of Google Play's highest-grossing apps, they do not necessarily generate higher profits than iOS apps. While the Apple App Store generates $5.1 million in daily revenue, the Google Play Store generates just $1.1 million. This revenue gap between Google Play and the Apple App Store, though, might close in the future. New apps in the Google Play Store show signs of becoming more profitable: out of the top 300 apps in the U.S., new apps generated almost 20% of Google Play's revenue but less than 15% of the revenue of iPhone and iPad apps.
What do you think: will Google Play ever surpass the App Store in revenue generated?