The Apple App Store's Massive Year In Three Charts

At an event last week that focused primarily on the launch of two new iPads, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed some updated milestones for his company’s app store.

The numbers announced were remarkable and worth keeping in mind ahead of Apple earnings, which will be announced in a couple of hours.

People pay so much attention to iPad and iPhone sales numbers, they forget that Apple runs a successful mobile software distribution business, too.

Here are the main estimates, part of an exclusive analysis of historical Apple App Store announcements from BI Intelligence:

  • App downloads are exploding: Cumulative app downloads have surpassed 60 billion. That means that total app downloads in 2013 alone have been 20 billion, according to our estimates. That’s a huge number. To put it into perspective, it’s equal to about half of all downloads that have taken place since the inception of Apple’s app store in July 2008.
  • Revenue is surging too: Apple has paid out over $US13 billion to app developers to date, Tim Cook said. Since Apple pays out 70% to developers and keeps 30% of revenue, that equates to roughly $US18.5 billion in total cumulative app store revenue. In mid-June, our analysis showed that Apple’s app store generated roughly the same amount of total revenue year-to-date in 2013 as it did in all of 2012, with about $US4.3 billion in new revenue. Well, Apple App Store has now managed to match that revenue total in the four and a half months since. Not to mention, there’s a holiday season on the horizon.

It’s unclear what’s causing the acceleration in downloads and revenue, but it could be tied to the success of Apple’s strategy of selling high-end devices that encourage heavy usage, the increased penetration of iPads, and faster 4G LTE networks in many markets, which allow users to download apps on the go.

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Here’s a last chart that shows how the results in total app revenue for the first 10 months of this year already represent a huge gain over the annual result in 2012:

AppleAppStoreRevenuesAnnualBIIAnnual App Store Revenues

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