Apple Announces 'Record-Shattering' Numbers For App Store Sales Across 2016

5 January 2017

Apple:

Apple today announced that the App Store welcomed 2017 with its busiest single day ever on New Year’s Day, capping a record-breaking holiday season and a year of unprecedented developer earnings and breakout app hits. In 2016 alone, developers earned over $20 billion, up over 40 percent from 2015. Since the App Store launched in 2008, developers have earned over $60 billion, creating amazing app experiences for App Store customers across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV and Mac. Those efforts helped kick off 2017 with a remarkable start, making New Year’s Day the highest single day ever for the App Store with nearly $240 million in purchases.

I wonder what the growth numbers would look like if games revenue was excluded. How much of that 40% growth is accountable to crappy freemium pay-to-win mobile games? I don’t think the App Store outlook is bleak but its health is not solely defined by how much its revenue increases year-over-year. A platform that can cultivate hundreds of addictive gambling ‘games’ — and nothing else — is not what I would consider a success.

Apple doesn’t release breakdowns of the headline statistics so it’s impossible to know if that is the truth, of course, but it is certainly true that the top grossing apps on the store are all freemium games with purchasable digital currencies. In the same press release, though, Apple lists quality non-freemium apps such as Prisma, Lumino City, Procreate and djay as being among the ‘most successful’. The definition of success (profit, revenue, or download count?) is unclear but it is encouraging to see those apps featured as examples of developers that are thriving.