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Apple implies it generated record revenue from the App Store during 2021

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California on Monday, June 4, 2018.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Apple said on Monday that it paid developers $60 billion in 2021, a total of $260 billion  since the App Store launched in 2008. This is a figure that suggests App Store sales continue to grow rapidly. 

By comparison, Apple said  it had paid developers a total of $155 billion in 2019 since the App Store launched in 2008.

 

And at the end of 2020, it said it had paid $200 billion, an increase of $ 45billion. Monday's figures show a jump of $60 billion.


The statistic came as  part of a larger announcement from Apple intended to show momentum for its services business, which is an important signal for investors and analysts, who love to see Apple  making money not just by selling hardware, but also  selling services and applications to its customers, such as application downloads. 

Apple payments to developers accounts for  between 70% and 85% of Apple's gross total  from its App Store, which absorbs between 15% and 30% of sales from digital purchases made in apps.

In the past, it was possible to roughly estimate total Apple App Store revenue by assuming developer payouts were 30% of  total Apple App Store sales. But, over the past year, the company has changed its pricing structure several times in response to regulators and legal challenges. 

Notably, in 2021, Apple introduced the Small Business program, which reduced commissions to 15% for developers earning less than $1 million per year. It is estimated that up to  98% of App Store developers fall into this category, but this is only a small fraction of total sales. Apple also introduced a  news apps program that would cut rates to 15% if they provided content to Apple News in August. 

For all developers, even Apple is only asking for 15% of the second year  subscription, instead of 30%.