Apple announced that the App Store ecosystem supported billing and sales of $ 519 billion worldwide in 2019 alone. According to the study conducted by independent economists at the Analysis Group, the highest value categories included mobile commerce (m-commerce) apps, digital goods, and service apps, and in-app advertising.
The study unveils that direct payments made to developers from Apple are only a fragment of the full total when sales from other sources like physical goods and services, are calculated. This because Apple only receives a commission from the billings associated with digital products and services. More than 85 percent of the $519 billion total accumulates exclusively to third-party developers and businesses of all sizes.
The study also revealed that sales from physical goods and services accounted for the largest share at $413 billion of the $519 billion the App Store ecosystem supported in 2019. Within that category, m-commerce apps generated the majority of sales, and of those, retail stood at $268 billion.
The retail apps include the ones which digitally represent brick-and-mortar stores like Target and Best Buy, as well as virtual marketplaces like Etsy. Travel apps such as Expedia and United accounted for $57 billion. Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft covered $40 billion in sales, and food delivery apps, including DoorDash and Grubhub, comprised $31 billion.
Billings and sales from digital goods and services accounted for $61 billion. The category includes apps for video streaming, music, fitness, education, ebooks and audiobooks, news and magazines, and dating services. The Games app was the most downloaded in 2019. They were the largest generator of billings and sales within this category.
In-app advertising sales accounted for $45 billion, and of that, 44 percent was derived from games. The non-gaming apps that create substantial in-app advertising sales are often free to download and use, such as Twitter and Pinterest, the other apps which offer in-app purchases to access content, like The New York Times and MLB.com.