The App Store ecosystem facilitated $1.1 trillion in developer billings and sales last year, according to an independent study from The Analysis Group and commissioned by Apple.
That is the result of rapid growth over recent years: that number rose 29 per cent on last year, and by 27 per cent in each of the two years before that. Those increases were partly a result of an increase in the apps that people use as the world opens up, such as taxi services, the report said.
Apple’s announcement came just days ahead of its Worldwide Developers Conference, which begins on Monday. That is likely to see a whole new platform for developers to build apps for, with the launch of its new augmented reality headset.
The report also comes amid increasing criticism over Apple’s power over the App Store, which is the only way to get apps onto the iPad and iPhone. Critics have argued that control means that Apple is able to make unfair demands on developers, including taking a cut from some sales made within apps and deciding what apps are available.
Apple has commissioned a number of such reports in recent years, aimed at highlighting the economic impact of the App Store and the positive effects that can have for developers.
The new report focused not on the money made by Apple, or through the store. Instead, it aimed to quantify how much money is made through the ecosystem built around the App Store, which includes billings and sales that are made through apps but without Apple’s involvement.
More than 90 per cent of the billings and sales went specifically to the developers, with Apple not taking a cut, the report said. While Apple takes a cut from the sale of apps and digital goods and services within those apps, companies selling physical goods and other services are able to keep the full amount.
Of the $1.1 trillion made last year, App Store developers generated $910 billion in total billings and sales from the sale of physical goods and services, $109 billion from in-app advertising, and $104 billion for digital goods and services, Apple said.
Last year, that came particularly from travel apps and ride-hailing. Travel sales on iOS were up 84 per cent last year, the report said.
It was not possible to say how much of that gain was the result of the world opening back up after lockdowns and other issues, compared with the specific work of Apple and those App Store developers, economists from Analysis Group said.
The report also comes on the 15th anniversary of the App Store, which was launched in 2008. Apple said that iOS developers have earned more than $320 billion on App Store in those 15 years.
“We’ve never been more hopeful about — or more inspired by — the incredible community of developers around the world,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “As this report shows, the App Store is a vibrant, innovative marketplace where opportunity thrives, and we’re as committed as ever to investing in developers’ success and the app economy’s future.”