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Occupy the App Store? Top 1% of monetized apps dominate 94% of US App Store revenue

The top 1 percent of earners don't just control the lion's share of money in the U.S. economy —a similar disparity between the haves and the have-nots has emerged in Apple's own App Store economy, a new study reveals.

App discoverability heavily dictates sales, the latest app sales data from Sensor Tower reveals, as the top 1 percent of publishers accounted for nearly all of U.S. App Store revenue last quarter. In the first quarter of 2016, 623 monetizing publishers that include Supercell, HBO, Spotify and others raked in 94 percent of U.S. App Store revenue.

The remaining 6 percent of earnings, or $85.8 million, was distributed among 61,677 publishers —the remaining 99 percent of all other App Store publishers.

Sensor Tower pulled data from the U.S. App Store regarding revenue for all publishers with at least one active paid or in-app-purchase-supported app. Downloads were compared to estimates for app publishers across the top charts for paid, free and grossing apps.

Of these apps, gaming, entertainment and music categories have drawn the most downloads with prior bestselling app publishers like Supercell, known for Clash of Clans, continuing to extend their dominance as they introduce new apps. App Store discoverability was shown to be a major driver in sales, affecting both iPhone and iPad installs.

Getting apps discovered by Apple's mobile audience has presented obstacles for many new publishers, and there have been recent signals that Apple is aware. Last month one report said the company is working on major changes to how searching operates in the iOS App Store, in an effort to help its audience discover content in a massive, ever-growing library of options.

While big-time publishers reap the most from the App Store, Apple too has benefitted from their dominant success. The App Store alone accounted for an estimated $6.4 billion in revenue for the company in 2015.

Apple itself revealed that the public had spent $1.1 billion on the App Store in just a two week period covering Christmas and New Year's to end 2015. Jan. 1, 2016 was reportedly the largest single day in the App Store's history, with $144 million in traffic.