When it comes to mobile apps and app stores, two names stand out: Apple’s App Store, and Google’s Android Market.
In fact, for many developers, these two app stores are the only game in town.
But is ignoring other app stores, like Nokia’s OVI Store, a mistake? According to research firm research2guidance, the answer may be ‘yes‘.
In looking at a variety of app stores, research2guidance found that “the ‘average app’ has a better chance to generate downloads on ‘non-hyped’ platforms.” There’s an obvious reason for this: “significantly lower competition, yet a sufficiently large user base that desires apps, are the major reasons for this“.
The average app in Blackberry’s AppWorld is downloaded at a 43% greater clip that the average app in the App Store. That number jumps to 80% in Microsoft’s WP7 app store, and to a whopping 160% in Nokia’s OVI Store.
The implication for developers: less popular app stores may not be as large and sexy as the App Store or Android Market, but some of them may be more rewarding as a result.
But does this mean that developers should flock to, say, the OVI Store? Not quite.
An app may, statistically, be more likely to be downloaded in a less-popular app store, but that doesn’t mean that those downloads will translate into profit.
Case in point: Android has a higher market share than iOS, and may soon generate more downloads than Apple’s App Store, but Android owners are less likely to pay for an app than their iPhone counterparts.
So it’s no surprise that the iPhone still has the most vibrant mobile app ecosystem despite Android’s rise.
At the end of the day, savvy developers aren’t chasing downloads. They’re looking to generate profit, and to do that, they’re investing in the platforms that have the greatest chances of remaining relevant into the future.
While this doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity to be had in the WP7 app store or OVI Store, most developers are rationally choosing to test their luck and skill in the biggest app stores, even if they are more competitive.