When we hit “Get” in the App Store to download a new app or tap subscribe to watch a streaming service, those dollars quickly add up. Since the launch of the App Store in 2008, Apple says it has paid a whopping $320 billion to developers, meaning Apple has raised $125 billion in 14 years.
The exact number is not known as Apple changed its fee structure in 2021. Developers who made up to $1 million in the previous calendar year are eligible for a reduced commission of 15 percent (versus 30 percent). In addition, Apple only takes a 15 percent commission on auto-renewing subscriptions after the first year. However you look at it, the App Store is an incredible business that continues to thrive.
Here are the cumulative numbers Apple paid to developers, with the annual amount in parentheses:
- 2009: $1 billion ($1 billion)
- 2010: $2.5 billion ($1.5 billion)
- 2011: $5 billion ($2.5 billion)
- 2012: $7.5 billion ($2.5 billion)
- 2013: $15 billion ($7.5 billion)
- 2014: $25 billion ($10 billion)
- 2015: $40 billion ($15 billion)
- 2016: $60 billion ($20 billion)
- 2017: $86 billion ($26.5 billion)
- 2018: $120 billion ($34 billion)
- 2019: $155 billion ($35 billion)
- 2020: $200 billion ($45 billion)
- 2021: $260 billion ($60 billion)
- 2022: $320 billion ($60 billion)
That’s a lot of apps and somewhere in the neighborhood of $450 billion dollars in total revenue, if you add up the money Apple saved. While growth has slowed somewhat, with 2022 numbers remaining flat from 2021, Apple makes about $20 billion annually from third-party apps. So it’s not hard to see why it’s so protective of this part of its business.
But things could change dramatically for the App Store in 2023. According to reports, Apple is going to allow sideloading in some countries, allowing users to download apps from places other than the App Store.
However, it is doubtful that many people will. As evidenced by the amount of money people have spent — and the amount developers have pocketed — the App Store isn’t just a place people go because they have to. They shop the App Store because it has quality apps that are worth their price tag.
At the current rate, Apple will hit $1 trillion in about 7 years, about half the time it took to get the first $500 billion. And we have no reason to think anything will slow it down.