App Store revenue continues to dwarf Google Play’s in 2020


The App Store was a cash-printing giant in the first half of 2020.
Photo: Apple

Total App Store spending surged to a massive $32.8 billion in the first half of 2020, combining money spent on premium downloads, subscriptions, and in-app purchases, a recent blog post from app analytics firm Sensor Tower suggests.

Not only is that an enormous amount of cash, but it’s also close to double the estimated gross revenue spent in the Google Play store, despite the bigger market share enjoyed by Android. User spending on Google Play reportedly hit $17.3 billion in the first half of the year.

The good news doesn’t end there, either. App Store spending was an estimated 24.7% higher year-on-year than than $26.3 billion iOS users spent in the App Store during the equivalent six months in 2019. Considering that this year has had a coronavirus-induced lockdown to contend with, that’s pretty darn impressive. (As it turns out, having people stuck at home may have actually helped drive usage of the App Store.) Compared to Google Play, App Store spending grew more than its rival in 2020. Revenue for Google Play grew only 21 percent year-on-year.

The highest earning non-game app was Tinder, which raked in an estimated $433 million in spending across the App Store and Google Play. This was down 19% from last year, possibly because of the effects of the coronavirus lockdown. (Unlike other apps, face-to-face meeting apps like Tinder had a distinct disadvantage.)

The top-grossing game app overall was Tencent’s PUBG Mobile. The battle royale game pulled in an astonishing $1.3 billion globally on the App Store and Google Play. This did not include China’s third-party Android marketplaces.

The App Store in 2020

Apple doesn’t take home all of that $32.8 billion, of course. It is split with developers, with Apple taking a cut in exchange for hosting apps and providing the necessary infrastructure. However, when taking other factors into consideration, the App Store may be an even bigger economic engine than this report suggests.

According to a study commissioned by Apple, the App Store ecosystem contributed over half a trillion dollars to the global economy in 2019. That also takes into account physical goods and services purchased via apps, including general retail ($268 billion), travel ($57 billion), ride hailing ($40 billion), food deliveries, and more. In early 2020, Apple noted that App Store developers have earned over $155 billion from software sales to date.

However, more recently the App Store business model has been challenged. The EU currently has an open investigation into the way Apple runs the App Store. And the U.S. could follow suit.


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