There are 5.32 billion unique mobile phone users worldwide today, according to the latest data from GSMA Intelligence, and Android covers more than 70% of the total mobile vendor market share globally as of May 2022.

With such dominance and growth of users and mobile devices YoY outside of iOS, it has become imperative and more needful than ever for mobile marketers and app developers to tap into more significant and diverse target audiences outside Google Play Store and to find the best alternative app store. This allows marketers to scale their mobile apps to reach a massive chunk of users where Google’s app ecosystem remains null and void.

What are alternative app stores? 

Mobile OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) like Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Samsung offer alternative app stores for mobile app developers and marketers to significantly scale their apps among untapped audiences and advertise their mobile apps for incremental user growth and engagement. However, for any app developer aiming to launch their app, the Apple-Google monopoly pushes them to pit their app against 2.1 million Android and 1.8 million iOS apps

Alternative app stores, therefore, offer an alternate channel for mobile advertisers and app developers to scale their user acquisition efforts and help them market their apps in broader regions beyond the access of the monopolies. 

As mentioned above, some of the best alternative app stores offered by mobile OEMs like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Samsung, and Huawei generate more than 1.5 billion daily active users helping mobile marketers aim at significantly growing their user base, improving ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) and reducing costs simultaneously. 

Which is the best alternative app store? 

Setting up mobile advertising campaigns with alternative app stores can be tedious. Still, the advantages and results they bring along are worth every second of advertising spent with these app stores. In addition, marketers can significantly benefit from alternative app stores at a lower cost per install (CPI) with higher user acquisition. 

Moreover, mobile OEMs are fraud-free and brand-safe as there are no mediators between the budget holder and the preferred mobile OEM. There is no one best alternative app store as the needs and demands of app developers vary along with the ad formats and pricing in each mobile OEM. 

Here are some of the best alternative app stores to look forward to in 2022: 

GetApps by Xiaomi:

Xiaomi is a consumer electronics and smart manufacturing company with smartphones and smart hardware connected by an IoT platform at its core. The company is in pursuit and rapidly expanding to become a global brand leader. Xiaomi finds itself taking a solid position on the Fortune Global 500 list for the third consecutive year, rising to 338th in 2021, representing a notable advance of 84 places compared to its ranking of 422nd in 2020. 

GetApps offered by Xiaomi is an official app store where you can download apps for your Xiaomi phone. As one of the top five mobile brands in over 40 markets, the Xiaomi marketing platform offers an alternative app store for Android (Google Play) and Apple’s App Store. The platform also provides ad frequency control.

Huawei AppGallery:

With a global Android market share of 10%, Huawei currently ranks fourth on the data for the largest global smartphone manufacturers. Huawei sold over 200 million smartphones and 100 million PCs, tablets, wearable devices, routers, and other IoT devices. 

Huawei’s AppGallery is the official app store of Huawei, and its own proprietary Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) are installed on Huawei’s new devices. They do not offer Google Play Store services, making it one of the best alternative app stores to leverage untapped audiences. In the first quarter of 2021, Huawei AppGallery reported over 530 million monthly active users worldwide. About 2.3 million app developers have registered on the app store. 

Samsung Galaxy Store: 

Samsung is the largest shareholder among mobile OEMs, representing more than 28% of the global smartphone market share. In the fourth quarter of 2021, Samsung sold nearly 69 million smartphones to end-users worldwide. 

Once known as Samsung Apps and Galaxy Apps, the Galaxy App Store is inarguably one of the best alternative app stores that mobile marketers can add to their marketing mix. It is a default app store for Samsung smartphones and is pre-installed on these devices. The app store is available in 125 countries and includes Android, Windows Mobile, Bada, and Tizen apps. 

Vivo App Store:

Over the recent years, Vivo has gained popularity globally as the market share of Vivo in Asia leaped from under one percent in 2020 to 8.15 percent in 2021, reflecting an increase of almost seven percent with a focus on markets such as India (20%), Indonesia (20.6%) in Q1 of 2022, and Southeast Asian countries.

Vivo App Store is one of China’s most used alternative app stores. It is preinstalled on all Vivo smartphone devices. A user can see applications in several categories and then sort these applications based on the number of downloads, the rating of the application, and the time spent on the application. Vivo app store ad formats include push ads, banner ads, splash ads, and floating icon ads.

The App market by Oppo:

Oppo is a leading smartphone manufacturer in China under BBK electronics which also manufactures OnePlus and Realme as extended alternatives to Oppo smartphones. The App Market by Oppo is the official OPPO App store that provides a range of compatible apps to entertain.  

The global market share held by OPPO in the smartphone market increased significantly from the first quarter of 2015, when the company held 2.2 percent, to where it stands in the first quarter of 2022. In the first quarter of 2022, OPPO had a global market share of 8.7 percent.

Alternative app stores are the future of mobile marketing

Mobile OEM inventory is increasing with year-over-year growth of 3.8 percent, with shipments expected to reach 1.43 billion by the end of 2022. Within this space, the smartphone Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as Oppo (Realme and OnePlus), Vivo, Samsung, HUAWEI, and Xiaomi occupy 52% of the market share as of Q1 2022. 

The alternative app stores by the mobile OEMs provide a tremendous competitive advantage to mobile marketers as it continues to scale for as long as smartphones dominate the telecommunications industry. As a result, the aforementioned mobile OEMs have proven to provide the best alternative for mobile marketers’ marketing mix as a user acquisition channel. 

Read more about alternative app stores and their benefits for Android