November 20, 2014 Last Updated 7:43 am

Adobe Digital Index reports finds that iOS app usage continues to outpace Android

iOS device owners continue to open and use their apps at nearly twice the rate of Android device owners, Adobe report finds

The occasional Android-first app launch aside (see yesterday’s post on the new NOOK Audiobooks app, launched first for Android), most developers continue to think iOS first, Android later – despite the growing dominance of Android device sales. The reason is simple: most developers (and publishers) continue to report higher sales through the Apple App Store than through other digital marketplaces.

The latest Adobe Digital Index report confirms this by stating that users open iOS apps at much higher rate than Android – nearly double.


The report is focused on the growth of digital wallet solutions such as Apple Pay, but its finding concerning app usage is what is of interest here. Adobe’s report also found that while iOS users opened (they use the term “launch” which can be confused for “developed”) app at twice the pace of Android users, they also kept them open for twice as long.

The Adobe Digital Index also found that the growth of app usage for smartphone users is quickly outpacing that of tablets. This shouldn’t be surprising as developers are releasing apps with more utility for smartphones. It also reflects the fact that device owners are constantly using their smartphones during the day, while reaching for their tablets after work.

So, is it still true that iOS is still the first platform of choice for developers due to sales? The anecdotal evidence seems to back this up, but getting hard evidence remains difficult as most of the major platforms continue to not report their sales numbers.

Recently, in a conversation with one digital newsstand that got a tad heated, I asked if the digital newsstand was willing to reveal their sales numbers, a request that was ignored. General claims remain the rule.

In another conversation I had yesterday with an executive, we talked on background about sales. This executive confirmed that iOS remains dominate, with the second layer of digital newsstand such as Google Play, Amazon, and the major independent newsstands still a distance behind. But, this executive said, iOS seems to be stagnating, no doubt due to the lack of maintenance of the Newsstand, but also (possibly) due to slumping iPad sales.

For many digital publishers, the iPad was what they built their businesses on. Tablet publishing was to be the next major publishing platform. But a funny thing happened to the new nirvana, users started to migrate to larger smartphones, and tablets became (like PCs) a rush to the bottom as cheaper tablets were launched on operating systems outside of iOS.

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