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The State of the iOS Economy

Horace Dediu dives into numbers of the iOS economy in 2017 based off Apple’s PR release announcing a record breaking holiday season.

While the numbers are crazy high and obviously good for Apple, I wonder where all the money people are spending on apps is coming from? And what isn’t getting the money anymore now that it’s being spent on apps?

Horace Dediu:

During this year iOS users will be spending about $100 million per day for Apps.

Maybe this is part of the answer?

I’ve made comparisons before with the app business being bigger than the film industry (and much bigger than the music industry.) This was considering Android revenues and iOS combined as “app revenues”. As of this year the App Store alone will overtake Global Box Office revenues.

Scrolling through the top selling apps on the iOS App Store today, it seems like a healthy mix of lifestyle, productivity, and utility apps. The games section is a similar mix of big publishers and indie games all in the $1 – $10 range – Minecraft continues to be the top selling iOS game, which is interesting now that Microsoft owns Minecraft. 15 years ago if I’d told you that Microsoft would have the top selling game on any sort of Apple software store, you’d think I was nuts on many levels.

The top grossing charts are full of free apps that offer in-app purchase or subscription options that Apple gets a cut of: Netflix, Tinder, and Pandora are the top 3. Candy Crush Saga is #4, and YouTube rounds out the top 5. To give an idea of scale, Minecraft, the top paid app at $9.99CDN, is down at #33 on the top grossing list.

It makes me sad that a great Mac developer like Panic couldn’t make Transmit for iOS work at the scale of the App Store in 2017. There’s obviously a ton of money pouring into the App Store economy – I just hope developers don’t have to race to the bottom of the quality scale in order to make it in 2018.