The “Other” Android App Stores – A New Frontier for App Discovery

Should you dwell within the U.S., you’d be forgiven for considering there are solely two locations to get apps, the Apple App Store and Google Play.  However whereas these two shops dominate app distribution within the west, globally the image seems totally different with regards to Android.   There are in actual fact greater than 4 hundred “third celebration” Android app shops.   Many of those shops are owned by web giants like Tencent, cell operators like SK Telecom or MTN, or come pre-embedded by smartphone producers like Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi.

For intrepid app builders and entrepreneurs searching for new distribution channels, third celebration app shops are more and more engaging, and in China they’re the one sport on the town. The distinctive factor about customers searching the OEM shops is that they’re actively searching for apps and companies, thus user-engagement and app efficiency are comparatively excessive.

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Globally probably the most attention-grabbing gamers are the biggest OEM shops.  Smartphone market dynamics and political pressures among the many U.S., China and Europe are shaking issues up, making now greater than ever an excellent time to consider releasing your subsequent app additionally in related OEM shops.

Google Play’s benefits gained’t be challenged any time quickly – it nonetheless has the best attain, pre-bundled apps like Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube, and finest at school safety and help.  The largest smartphone makers have plenty of sources and growing incentives to broaden app builders attain past Google Play, particularly world #1 and #2 – Samsung and Huawei.  To know how we bought right here, let’s first take a short take a look at China.

Because the Chinese language authorities banned Google Play in 2011, Android in China has advanced right into a extremely fragmented market, with over 300 app shops.  The most important participant, Tencent’s MyApp, has about 26% of the market, representing over 258 million month-to-month common customers.

China App Store Index

A few key takeaways: one, a reminder that China is a big market, the place 10% market share equals 100 million customers.  Two, shoppers like pre-installed app shops – OEM shops maintain 4 of the highest seven locations.   Google is now making inroads into the world’s largest app market, however Chinese language gamers have a significant head begin.  China’s OEM gamers – Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi — at the moment are seeking to leverage their massive Chinese language person bases as a option to appeal to western app builders.

One of many OEM shops that western builders ought to contemplate is Xiaomi.  Now the 4th largest smartphone vendor on the planet, Xiaomi is aggressively gaining market share exterior of China.  That is very true in Europe, the place Xiaomi shipped 4.3 million models in Q2 of this 12 months, a 9.6% share of the market.   Xiaomi’s gross sales in Europe have been up 48% from final 12 months, the biggest improve among the many high gamers.

Xiaomi’s focus – inexpensive, value-packed telephones, is succeeding globally in addition to it has in China.  For western builders, particularly sport publishers, Xiaomi’s app Store represents a terrific avenue for app discovery.

For Huawei, China’s largest smartphone producer, 2019 represents the very best of instances and the worst of instances.  On the one hand, it has lately outstripped Apple to turn into the #2 smartphone maker on the planet, and plenty of analysts imagine it’s on monitor to high Samsung as #1 within the coming 12 months.

Then again, Huawei is the biggest casualty of the commerce struggle and heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.  Deemed a safety risk as a possible surveillance “backdoor” for China’s authorities, Huawei has been banned in the USA.  In consequence, Google has revoked Huawei’s Android license, and U.S. chipmakers Intel, Qualcomm and ARM have ceased enterprise with Huawei.

New Huawei telephones can not have Google Play or any Google apps pre-loaded, and so they should depend on open-source Android and use their very own app Store.  For Huawei, that is extra than simply dropping the U.S. as a significant market, it’s a probably existential risk to their enterprise.  Huawei’s success or failure as an organization will now be considerably depending on their capability to persuade app builders to deploy on their Store.

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The opposite OEM participant that has been attempting to woo builders for its personal app Store is Samsung.   For the previous few years, Samsung has pursued positioning the Galaxy Store as a “boutique,” implying that it’s a vacation spot for high-quality apps, significantly video games.  It’s straightforward to see why Samsung would possibly attempt to differentiate its app Store as a extra high-end, unique market.  Google Play is thought to have numerous low-quality apps.  About 55% of all apps on Google Play are unrated, and the overwhelming majority of unrated apps have 500 or much less downloads.    It’s additionally price noting that the overwhelming majority of apps on Google Play are free, with solely 125,000 paid apps.  If the Galaxy Store can turn into a vacation spot for the best high quality apps and significantly video games, it may assist Samsung promote extra of its most technically superior telephones.  That is constant of Samsung’s general technique in response to the problem posed by Huawei and its Chinese language friends.  Threatened by the Chinese language Rivals for middle-tier telephones, Samsung needs to solidify its place because the “Apple of Android.”

So we are able to see how for Xiaomi, Huawei and Samsung, selling their pre-embedded app shops as a substitute for Google Play is a necessary a part of their general methods going ahead.  For Samsung, it’s a defensive play to shore up their place on the excessive finish of the Android universe.  For Huawei, it’s each offense and protection – if sooner or later they’re pressured to deploy their very own OS, their app Store can be a crucial piece of the puzzle. For Xiaomi, it’s a option to leverage their massive rising worldwide person base to achieve traction with app builders globally, creating new income streams.   In all circumstances, these OEMs will doubtless give extra incentives, promotion, co-branding, and probably extra favorable income splits within the effort to win enterprise from app builders.

The very best instance of this was when Samsung satisfied Epic to launch Fortnite on the Galaxy Store when Epic had already determined to not launch the blockbuster sport on Google Play.  We should always anticipate to see extra offers like this sooner or later, and sensible app builders ought to look to make the most of this untapped alternative to succeed in high-intent customers.

It’s necessary to notice that Google and Apple wallets are broadly adopted and utilized by these giants to take a pleasant share of the developer’s in-app revenues.  On this side, OEMs are far behind, with pretty restricted quantity of purchases performed through their fee platforms so their capability to monetize their app Store within the brief time period depends totally on in-store app promotions and promoting (Full disclosure: Appnext expertise powers among the OEMs in-store promoting). In consequence, sport and app builders who monetize through ad-based income or direct fee options (e-commerce, supply companies, and many others) will profit probably the most from the OEM app shops.



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