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How Android and Google Play drive global growth

The app economy is booming. According to new research from Access Partnership, 255 billion apps were downloaded in 2022 alone, and the average smartphone user has around 90 apps installed. Android and Google Play are key drivers of this app growth by offering choice, access and security to businesses and consumers.

Here are our top takeaways from the report from Access Partnership:

Everyone wins with choice

As an open-source mobile operating system that anyone can adopt for free, Android gives device makers the freedom to innovate and saves them up to an estimated $33 billion to date in development and operating costs. When device makers don’t have to build their own operating system, they are able to devote their resources to innovative software and hardware features, bringing consumers a diverse range of devices. This has resulted in over 24,000 device models — including smartphones, wearables, TVs and more — at all price points.

On Android, app developers are not locked into a single store, fueling developer choice. As of 2022, there were over 15 app stores on Android that businesses could distribute apps through. Developers also have the options to launch their own store or offer an app directly via their own websites. For example, a recent survey of developers found that 46% of European developers distribute through multiple app stores on Android, maximizing their reach. This flexibility in distribution benefits consumers as well, with 80% of Android devices having at least one app installed from outside Google Play.

Access for all

The affordability of Android devices has brought internet access to millions, helping to bridge the digital divide particularly in developing markets. The report finds that nearly two-thirds of smartphones shipped in 2022 in a sample of developing countries were Android devices under $200. This connectivity offers vital access to information, services and social connections. In Brazil alone, the report estimates that in 2022 over 78 million people were primarily accessing the internet through Android smartphones.

Google Play gives app developers — especially small businesses — a global platform to reach more people. Small developers' earnings on Google Play grew by 101% between from 2017 to 2022, and in the same period the number of new developer accounts on Google Play grew by 52%. Google Play offers seamless access to over 190 markets and 2.5 billion people, helping app creators reach large customer bases beyond their local markets. The report finds that in some markets up to 79% of developer revenue earned via Google Play came from overseas users in 2022.

Safety matters

Android and Google Play invest heavily in protecting users and businesses, which is especially important in an ever-evolving threat landscape. Android devices offer built-in safeguards against malware, phishing and data privacy risks. Google Play Protect, which is Android’s anti-malware solution, proactively scans over 125 billion apps daily for malicious or harmful content irrespective of where the apps were downloaded from.

Google Play’s policies and technologies have created a safe app marketplace to protect users and businesses against harm online. In 2022 alone, Google Play blocked or disabled more than 300 million spam user accounts, while Google Play’s billing system prevented $2 billion in fraudulent transactions and handled over 1.5 million support cases. These security measures build user trust. According to a survey of Android smartphone owners in India, 91% of Google Play users trust that Google Play will make sure apps are safe, and this trust influences their decision to download from Google Play. Google Play’s proactive commitment to security ensures users and businesses can participate in the app economy with confidence.

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