Apps aren’t just for fun: they’re big money makers. Apple reports that its App Store ecosystem facilitated $1.1 trillion in developer billings and sales in 2022, representing strong growth.
Data provided by an independent study by economists from Analysis Group found that more than 90% of the billings and sales were accrued solely to developers and businesses of all sizes, without any commission paid to Apple. Additionally, new analysis from the Progressive Policy Institute found the iOS app economy now supports more than 4.8 million jobs across the U.S. and Europe, with approximately 2.4 million in each region.
The economists from Analysis Group estimate that 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.
“We’ve never been more hopeful about — or more inspired by — the incredible community of developers around the world,” says 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.”
The Analysis Group study takes a closer look at the key drivers behind the growth in the App Store ecosystem, including rebounding demand for sectors like travel and ride-hailing, and strong growth in advertising spend in apps like social media and retail apps.
Developer billings and sales increased by 27% between 2019 and 2020; 27% between 2020 and 2021; and 29% between 2021 and 2022. Small developers, in particular, found tremendous success on the App Store, outpacing larger developers by growing their revenue by 71% between 2020 and 2022. The economists at Analysis Group believe growth rates of this kind are positive indicators, consistent with a flourishing marketplace full of dynamism, innovation, and competition.
All told, since 2019, U.S. developers’ billings and sales have increased by more than 80%. In Europe, developers’ billings and sales since 2019 saw an above average increase of 116%.
The App Store’s engine of commerce provides Apple developers around the world with a global distribution platform that supports more than 195 local payment methods and 44 currencies across 175 storefronts. It also allowed developers to reach users across borders: In 2022, 54% of downloads occurred in storefronts outside of developers’ home countries. The App Store attracted over 650 million average weekly visitors worldwide in 2022, according to new data from Apple. And users downloaded and redownloaded apps an average of more than 747 million and 1.5 billion times each week in 2022, respectively.
Released earlier today, the new study from economists at Analysis Group, titled “The Continued Growth and Resilience of Apple’s App Store Ecosystem,” draws from a wide range of economic data that speaks to developers’ growth on the App Store. The study found developers’ billings and sales facilitated by the App Store grew across a wide variety of categories.
For example, as restrictions eased in many parts of the world, app categories like travel and ride-hailing saw demand rebound significantly. Travel sales made on iOS apps increased by 84% in 2022, alongside a 45% increase in sales on ride-hailing apps.
Food and grocery sales were also among the fastest-growing app categories. Since 2019, iOS app-based food delivery and pickup sales more than doubled, and grocery sales more than tripled. In addition, enterprise apps have grown in popularity with companies around the world in the last few years. In 2022, these apps represented one of the fastest-growing digital goods and services categories in Analysis Group’s estimate of billings and sales. The highest growth in digital goods and services was seen in the app-based entertainment category, as notable trends like the creator economy have emerged in recent years, as well as the prominence of apps that support this area.
This year also marks a milestone for the App Store, which turns 15. Since its launch in 2008. Through the last 15 years, iOS developers have earned more than $320 billion on the App Store. The Analysis Group study found that iOS users have downloaded apps more than 370 billion times from 2008 to 2022. And today, the App Store has more than 123 times as many apps — nearly 1.8 million — to choose from, compared to the thousands available on the App Store at the end of 2008.
Today’s developers also have more options to monetize their businesses, including in-app purchases and subscriptions; more developer tools, including over 40 SDKs and 250,000 APIs; and educational resources like Apple’s Developer Academies, Entrepreneur Camp, and other programs that teach coding and business development skills.
The App Store’s technologies and services support a wide range of app businesses, including developers who sell physical goods and services. That includes integration with Apple Pay, biometric authentication with Face ID and Touch ID, account security, and other technologies that help developers securely connect with Apple users.
Apple continues with its rigorous App Review process and privacy and security protections. In 2022, the App Store blocked more than $2 billion in fraudulent transactions and rejected 1.7 million app submissions for failing to meet privacy, security, and quality standards. Recent innovations, like App Tracking Transparency and Privacy Nutrition Labels, have empowered users with even more information on how their apps use their data.