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App Store commerce grew 24% year-over-year to $643B in 2020

Credit: Apple

Last updated

The App Store ecosystem facilitated $643 billion in billings and sales throughout 2020, according to an independent study highlighted by Apple.

Compared to the $519 billion in commerce generated in 2019, the 2020 results represent a 24% increase year-over-year. Additionally, a study by the Analysis Group indicates that developers grew their businesses in 2020 while reaching new customers.

The study, "A Global Perspective on the Apple App Store Ecosystem," found that the number of small developers has grown by 40% since 2015. Small app makers — defined as those with fewer than 1 million downloads and less than $1 million in earnings — make up more than 90% of App Store developers.

About one in four small developers grew their earnings by an average of at least 25% each year for the past five years, the report indicates. Nearly 80% have apps across multiple countries' App Stores. The average developer also has earnings from users in more than 40 countries.

Many companies on the App Store have also grown through acquisitions or public offerings. The study found that, by a conservative estimate, 75 app-based companies have either gone public or been acquired in the U.S. and Europe. In total, the companies' valuation was more than $510 billion at the time of their offering or sale.

App Store companies are also able to reach a wide variety of consumers across the globe. The study indicated that the App Store enables businesses to reach customers across 175 countries and regions. Localized storefronts also support 40 languages, nearly 200 local payment methods, and 45 local currencies.

"Developers on the App Store prove every day that there is no more innovative, resilient or dynamic marketplace on earth than the app economy," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

"The apps we've relied on through the pandemic have been life-changing in so many ways — from groceries delivered to our homes, to teaching tools for parents and educators, to an imaginative and ever-expanding universe of games and entertainment," Cook added. "The result isn't just incredible apps for users: it's jobs, it's opportunity, and it's untold innovation that will power global economies for many years to come."

Apple also highlighted some of its tools and resources for developers. There are more than 250,000 application programming interfaces (APIs) included in its 40 software development kits (SDKs). More than 10,000 people have graduated from Apple's Developer Academies. They have since gone on to launch more than 1,500 apps.

In highlighting the figure, Apple also used specific app companies as examples of the marketplace's success, including Bumble, Vectornator, Makaron, and EatOkra.

Wakeout! founder Andres Canella, for example, praised Apple's in-app payment system, calling it an "essential" service, especially for a small business.

"It's enabled us to expand globally without having to worry about calculating things like local taxes or currency conversion. And using it is so transparent for our customers — we're able to reach everywhere, China, France, you name it," said Canella. "We get all the benefits of selling globally without ever having to think about it, which is priceless."

KidloLand, an educational app for children, was founded by Aditya and Nishant Mohatta in India. Aditya touted the App Store's ability to connect a company with customers across the globe.

To know that children in 174 countries have played our songs more than half a billion times — it means a lot to us, especially as fathers. This growth has meant we can create stable jobs for people in our communities. Some of our team members purchased their first homes — that is something we are especially proud of, because in India, buying a home is considered a very big step in one's life. And during the pandemic, we were able to donate food and medical supplies, including oxygen concentrators, for those who were in dire need.

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