I'll start with the overall comparison. I ported 4 of my top apps and released them at the beginning of December. Since then, the 4 apps on Android have had 61.5% of the sales of their iPhone counterparts. I said I'd be happy if they did 50%, so that's not too bad. It doesn't come close to telling the whole story though. Pretty graph time!
First, here are the 4 apps sales on iPhone over the time period. Sales have been up and down for all of them, but fairly similar for the most part.
Here are the sales from Android. As you can see, almost 100% of the sales are from just 1 of the apps (98% to be exact).
The 1 Android app that did well actually outsold each of my similar iPhone apps over this period and I have been really happy with it. Unfortunately, everything else has been pretty much non-existent. The only difference is simply that this particular niche isn't as crowded as the others are so it was much easier to break in to.
Clearly the 61% of my iPhone sales don't do this story justice. 1 app is selling 200% of it's counterpart, and the others are selling about 1% of theirs. Now, this obviously isn't a completely fair comparison as these apps just got on the store while their iPhone counterparts have been there for a year and a half, but it makes an important point. The niche you pick matters. Competition matters. I still think over time I'm going to be able to grow these other apps, maybe even pass their iPhone counterparts, but it is clearly going to be much harder.
While I was working on my upcoming book this week I've been thinking a lot about picking app ideas. This really reinforces how important your niche selection is. These apps are very similar apps that simply target different areas. One area that was underserved was pretty easy to do well in. I spent $10 on a few admob ads (with questionable success as to total downloads) and within a few days of being on the market I was #2 for my top search term. I did the same for the other apps, but haven't seen anywhere close to the same traction.
The free version of the (somewhat) successful app has over 16k downloads while the other 3 combined are less than 1k. Do some research when you are picking your app idea. Competition is good. It means that people are willing to pay for this thing. Lots of competition on the other hand, not as good. You can still compete, but it's going to be much much harder.
If you've read this far and are interested in the mobile app market you may want to check out my newsletter. It's periodic emails (no more than 1-2 a month) on mobile app sales and the different markets. It will also let you be the first to know when my upcoming book launches.