Apple’s App Store facilitated half a trillion dollars in commerce last year, a new study reveals.
The App Store ecosystem supported $519 billion in billings and sales globally in 2019 alone, according to independent economists at Analysis Group.
The highest value categories were mobile commerce apps, digital goods and services apps, and in-app advertising, while games was the most-downloaded category.
Travel app Expedia, ride-sharing platform Uber and food delivery stalwart Deliveroo were among the big winners.
Apple today announced the App Store ecosystem supported $519 billion in billings and sales globally in 2019 alone
The results encapsulate the ‘full sweep of the dynamic, competitive, and flourishing app economy’ according to the tech giant, which is worth more than a trillion US dollars.
‘The App Store is a place where innovators and dreamers can bring their ideas to life, and users can find safe and trusted tools to make their lives better,’ said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.
‘In a challenging and unsettled time, the App Store provides enduring opportunities for entrepreneurship, health and well-being, education, and job creation, helping people adapt quickly to a changing world.
‘We’re committed to doing even more to support and nurture the global App Store community – from one-developer shops in nearly every country to businesses that employ thousands of workers – as it continues to foster innovation, create jobs, and propel economic growth for the future.’
The highest value categories for Apple were mobile commerce (m-commerce) apps, digital goods and services apps, and in-app advertising
The study looked at 2019 data to capture an accurate snapshot of the full App Store ecosystem, taking into account all sources of commerce.
Of the $519 billion the App Store ecosystem supported in 2019, sales from physical goods and services accounted for the largest share, at $413 billion.
Within that category, mobile commerce (m-commerce) apps generated the vast majority of sales, and of those, retail was the largest, at $268 billion.
Retail apps include those that digitally represent brick-and-mortar stores such as Target and Best Buy, as well as virtual marketplaces that sell physical goods, such as Etsy, but do not include grocery delivery, which is its own category.
Other types of m-commerce apps were among the largest sources of sales from physical goods and services.
Travel apps, including Expedia and United, accounted for $57 billion, while ride-hailing apps, including Uber and Lyft, comprised $40 billion in sales, and food delivery apps, including DoorDash and Grubhub, made up $31 billion.
Billings and sales from digital goods and services comprised $61 billion, and this category included apps for music and video streaming, fitness, education, ebooks and audiobooks, news and magazines, dating services and more.
Games, the type of app most downloaded in 2019, was the largest generator of billings and sales within this category.
Notable games of 2019 included ‘Mario Kart Tour,’ which was the most downloaded game of 2019, and ‘Sky: Children of the Light’ from indie developer thatgamecompany, which won Apple’s 2019 iPhone Game of the Year.
Ride-hailing apps, including Uber (pictured) and Lyft, comprised $40 billion in sales, and food delivery apps, including DoorDash and Grubhub, made up $31 billion
Meanwhile, in-app advertising sales accounted for $45 billion, and of that, 44 percent was derived from games.
Non-game apps that generate substantial in-app advertising sales are often free to download and use, such as Twitter and Pinterest, though others also offer in-app purchases to access content, such as The New York Times and MLB.com.
Direct payments made to developers from Apple are only a fraction of the vast total when sales from other sources, such as physical goods and services, are calculated.
Because Apple only receives a commission from the billings associated with digital goods and services, more than 85 percent of the $519 billion total accrues solely to third-party developers and businesses of all sizes.
The App Store, which launched in 2008, is home to almost two million apps and visited by half a billion people each week across 175 countries, Apple said.
In 2020, many brick-and-mortar businesses have turned to mobile commerce, including some that may otherwise have been forced to close due to the coronavirus, Apple said.
Food and grocery delivery apps have benefited from increased consumer demand, while apps related to businesses that have faced restrictions, or those that require in-person interactions, have dropped in popularity.
THE TRILLION DOLLAR RISE OF APPLE
The company’s journey to the summit of the technology industry has been a rocky one, having seen Jobs (pictured right in 1976) leave the firm in the mid-1980s after his pet project, the first Macintosh computer, struggled and he attempted to oust then chief executive John Sculley. Wozniak is pictured left
1976: Founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne created the company on April 1 1976 as they set about selling computer kits to hobbyists, each of which was built by Wozniak.
The first product was the Apple I.
1977: Apple released the Apple II in June, which was the first PC made for the mass market.
1981: Jobs became chairman.
1984: The Macintosh was introduced during an ad break for the Super Bowl and later officially unveiled during a launch event. It was discontinued a year later and Jobs left the firm.
1987: Apple released the Macintosh II, the first colour Mac.
1997: Apple announces it will acquire NeXT software in a $400 million deal that involves Jobs returning to Apple as interim CEO. He officially took the role in 2000.
2001: Apple introduced iTunes, OS X and the first-generation iPod.
The first iPod MP3 music player was released on October 23, 2001, at an event in Cupertino and was able to hold up to 1,000 songs.
Steve Jobs unveils Apple Computer Corporation’s new Macintosh February 6, 1984 in California.
The then Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Steve Jobs, with the iPhone
2007: Apple unveils the iPhone.
2010: The first iPad was unveiled.
2011: Jobs resigned in 2011 due to illness, handing the CEO title to Tim Cook. Job died in October from pancreatic cancer.
2014: Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. It also unveiled its first larger iPhones – the 6 and 6 Plus.
2015: After purchasing Beats from Dr Dre, Apple launched Apple Music to compete with Spotify and other music streaming services.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks at an Apple event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
2016: Apple returned to its roots and announced the 4-inch iPhone SE. Meanwhile, the firm is embroiled in a legal battle with the FBI, involving the agency demanding access to the locked phone used by Syed Farook, who died in a shootout after carrying out a deadly December attack in San Bernardino, California with his wife. The court order was dropped on March 28 after the FBI said a third party was able to unlock the device.
2017: Apple introduces the iPhone X, which removes the home button to make way for a futuristic edge-to-edge screen design and a new FaceID system that uses advanced sensors and lasers to unlock phones with just the owner’s face.
2018: In a first for the company, Apple introduces new features in its latest operating system, iOS 12, that encourage users to manage and spend less time on their devices. The move was spawned by a strongly worded letter from shareholders that urged the firm to address the growing problem of smartphone addiction among kids and teenagers.
2019: In January, Apple reports its first decline in revenues and profits in a decade. CEO Tim Cook partly blamed steep declines in revenue from China.
2020: In March, Apple closes all its bricks and mortar retail stores outside of China in response to coronavirus.