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Apple says the App Store is actually really good for the economy

App Store Award 2021
(Image credit: Apple)

The iOS app ecosystem helps contribute millions to the economy and supports thousands of jobs worldwide, new research from Apple has claimed.

The mobile giant has released (opens in new tab) two reports, one commissioned by the company, analysing the impact of the App Store on the overall economy. 

The reports, from the Analysis Group (commissioned by Apple) and Progressive Policy Institute, seek to challenge that narrative that Apple is abusing its dominance App Store at the cost of rivals and developers. 

App Store benefits

Epic Games and others have attempted to argue that Apple is violating antitrust and other laws by charging developers a 30% cut of each sale and in-app purchases, given that iOS does not allow for alternative methods of downloading apps. 

"The iOS app economy continued its track record as an engine of economic growth and opportunity in 2021, supporting more than 2.2 million jobs in the US and helping small businesses find more success than ever," says Apple. 

According to the report from the Analysis Group, revenue for smaller developers – those who earn under $1 million per year and have fewer than one million annual downloads – increased by 113% between 2019 and 2021 globally. In the US, that number was 118%. (The research excluded those with under 1,000 downloads.)

Apple App Store

(Image credit: Apple)

This isn't the first time Apple has released research on the app store. Earlier in April, Apple released (opens in new tab) a report, also from the Analysis Group, showing that its own apps are "rarely the most popular app of a particular type," seeking to challenge the narrative that Apple privileges its own apps. 

And back in June 2021, Apple released (opens in new tab) a similar report showing the App Store facilitated around $643 billion in bookings and sales globally during 2020, a 24% rise over the previous year. 

Changing the record 

While the provenance of these reports means they can't be taken at face value, Apple likely does have a point. 

The ease of downloading apps from the App Store, in the knowledge that someone at Apple has checked them, has opened up whole news worlds, aided by the quality of the iPhone as a tool. 

Whole industries, such as Instagram influencers and ride-hailing from an app, have grown in large part out of the iOS ecosystem. 

However, does Apple deserve to take 30% of those transactions? A lot of developers, big and small, would argue now – and that's the crux of the issue for Apple. 

While the company has had success against Epic in court, changes have been made (opens in new tab) to the App Store to let developers send viewers to outside websites to sign-up customers. 

Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.