Whilst iOS harbours one legitimate app store, Android users have access to a variety of app stores, and unlike with iOS, no jailbreaking or rooting is required for users to access these stores. Because of this, it’s possible that some users have literally quit using the Google Play store for better alternatives.
As an app developer, is it worth chasing the small communities that use external app markets? In this article, we take a look at the revenue potential from Android alternative app stores and the pros and cons of moving over to these markets.
A Look at the Available Android Alternative App Stores
There is surprisingly quite a large amount of Android alternative app stores available today, and whilst none of them has anywhere near the market share of Google Play or the Apple App store, some of them still manage to bring in hundreds of thousands to millions downloads each month.
One of the largest Android alternatives is the Amazon app store, which is currently the fifth-largest store behind BlackBerry World, the Windows Phone store and of course the iOS and Google Play stores.
Behind Amazon, there are other alternatives like GetJar, Opera Mobile Store, Mobango, AndroidPIT and many others. Each of these has its own take on developer earnings and app store categorization, and they all also have their own separate pools of users, some of which do not regularly use the Google Play store.
What There is to Gain From Android Alternative App Stores
Whilst some of the aforementioned app stores incur fees for developers, such as Amazon’s annual $99 fee, many do not have any fees, and developer earnings are typically slightly higher than those on Google Play.
Despite there being fewer users in each app store, providing your application to different Android alternative app stores allows you to reach out to a larger audience, giving you the potential to gain more downloads without much damage to your budget.
Another benefit to alternative app stores is the fact that competition is usually extremely smaller than Google Play, so getting your app to rank higher can be considered to be easier than it is on the Play store.
When it comes to revenue potential for Android alternative app stores, there is certainly money to be made, and whilst you may not get as large a user base as your Google play app, in-app purchases and other monetization techniques are still effective on almost any other platform.
What There is to Lose From Android Alternative App Stores
One of the biggest resources to lose from publishing to multiple app stores is time – you will need to maintain each and every app store listing, push updates each time you change your app, and deal with small app store management tasks multiple times.
Because all Android app stores use .apk files, you should only need to develop one app, but you will certainly still need to devote more time to managing each app store listing.
As well as a loss of time, managing multiple listings on various Android app stores can rack up monthly or annual developer fees. Unless you’re already bringing in enough revenue from Google Play, it would be best to stick to Android alternative app stores that do not charge developer fees.
If you were to pick an alternative instead of using Google Play, you would probably see a lot less potential for revenue too – the biggest user base is on Google Play, so whilst alternative app stores could help to supplement your revenue, they should not be used as your one and only mobile revenue stream.
There is definitely revenue potential from Android alternative app stores, but it’s best not to venture to other stores until you’ve maximized your potential within the Google Play store or you have found a niche store that fits your app’s description perfectly.