App StoreSource: Joe Keller / iMore

What you need to know

  • CNBC estimates Apple's App Store grossed over $64 billion in revenue last year.
  • That would mean growth of 28% on 2019.

A new report from CNBC estimates that Apple's App Store grossed over $64 billion in 2020.

From the report:

Apple's App Store grossed more than $64 billion in 2020, according to an analysis by CNBC.

That's up from an estimated $50 billion in 2019 and $48.5 billion in 2018, according to the same analysis, suggesting that App Store sales growth accelerated strongly during the Covid-19 pandemic, as people sheltered at home and spent more time and money on apps and games.

The report says App Store revenue grew by 28% in 2020, a huge increase on 3.1% growth in 2019. Here's how the figure was calculated:

Apple doesn't disclose how much revenue its App Store makes per year. Instead, since 2013, it has released data points in January that includes the total that Apple has paid to developers since the beginning of the App Store in 2008.

Using those numbers, it's possible to back out roughly how much revenue the App Store generated based on how much Apple paid to developers in any given year. According to a press release on Wednesday, Apple has paid developers $200 billion since 2008, up $45 billion from the figure that was announced in January 2020. If that's equal to 70% of App Store sales, then the App Store grossed around $64 billion last year.

In a press release earlier this week Apple said that consumers had spent $1.8 billion on digital goods between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and a record $540 million New Year's Day alone. As CNBC notes, Apple also says developers have now earned some $200 billion since the App Store's launch in 2008.