Windows 8.1 adoption and Microsoft app store trends

Windows 8.1 adoption and Microsoft app store trends

Yesterday Microsoft released a detailed blog post, part of a series they do each month, in which they provided a lot of information about trends in the Windows and Windows Phone Stores.

We have discussed developers, apps and earnings a lot over the last two weeks for Windows Phone and part of that discussion has always pointed towards Windows 10 and universal apps.

The concept behind developing universal apps means one set of code can be easily published to Windows, Windows Phone and even Xbox One once they are all on Windows 10.  Whether this will be the panacea which bolsters the app offerings on Windows Phone remains to be seen but until that day comes it is where many hats are currently hung.

Before I dive into how things are going in the current Windows and Windows Phone app stores for developers I wanted to point out an interesting graphic related to Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 Adoption

Image courtesy of Microsoft

As you can see above there has been some good movement towards the latest version of Windows (8.1) on each platform as this info is based on app download sources for each store.

For Windows desktops it looks like Windows 8 only remains on less than 10% of desktops and over on Windows Phone the 7.5, 7.8 and 8 versions are on less than 20% of handsets total.

Those numbers make sense as not every Windows Phone was eligible for the Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade so a lot of older phones are still out there running those past version of the mobile OS.

On consumer desktops every Windows 8 machine was eligible for the Windows 8.1 update but some are obviously not taking advantage of it. The 8.1 update was mandatory a year after its release and then a smaller update known as Windows 8.1 Update 1 became mandatory in June 2014 a few months after its release.

These adoption levels are a good sign for Microsoft as they offer consumers on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 free upgrades to Windows 10 because it should mean a large user base for the new OS as it begins its roll out. The big question that will remain is how quickly Windows 7 users make the move to Windows 10 as I am sure Microsoft does not want another Windows XP on its hands.

So looking at the details in this post for the stores developers can get some great insight on how to target their apps to the user community on both platforms.

  • Downloads based on device memory: 32% of devices have high memory and 68% have low memory (less than 512 MB RAM on 8.x devices).
  • Biggest download category continues to be Games (45% on desktop; 28% on phone). Tools & Productivity, Music & Videos are 2nd and 3rd on each platform.
  • The category with highest ratio of downloads per app on each platform is Social followed by Games on the desktop and Photo on phones which is very close to taking over Social on that platform.
  • The United States has the highest number of average downloads per app by market followed by China on desktops and India on phones. Other markets showing significant download activity include China, France, UK, Mexico and Russia.
  • English is the primary language of the majority of customers on Windows and Windows Phone. Spanish and Mandarin are next on each list. According to Microsoft English only apps reach just 16% of Windows Phone customers while supporting the top 10 languages widens that to 65% of users.
  • Developer revenue comes from In-app purchases (55%), Advertising (31%) and Paid apps (14%).

Another reason why the adoption of Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 is so critical, especially to developers, is that the code in those apps is made to ease the transition to Windows 10 based apps.

If you are a developer then be sure to check out my recent story about kicking off your Windows 10 development learning over at our sister site DevPro Connections.

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