Apple's App Store generates $41.5 billion in spending in first half of 2021, says Sensor Tower

App Store on iPhone
App Store on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's App Store continues to enjoy growth according to a new report.
  • Sensor Tower estimates that Apple is on course to generate $41.5 billion in spending in the first half of 2021.
  • That would represent 22% growth on the same period last year.

A new report from Sensor Tower says that Apple's App Store has generated an estimated $41.5 billion in revenue in the first half of this year.

Figures show the App Store generated roughly 1.8 times the amount of revenue of Google Play, however, the growth of Google's Play Store was actually stronger:

Apple's App Store is projected to generate $41.5 billion in consumer spending globally from in-app purchases, subscriptions, and premium apps and games in the first half of 2021. This is about 1.8 times the revenue generated by Google Play, which saw an estimated $23.4 billion in the same period. However, Google's marketplace is projected to experience more Y/Y growth than Apple's. In the first half of 2021, the App Store has grown 22.1 percent from about $34 billion in the H1 2020, a little more than 7 percentage points lower than the 29.3 percent growth experienced during 1H20 due to accelerated spending during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

TikTok was the biggest moneyspinner on the App Store, topping the revenue chart for a second year running ahead of apps like YouTube, Tinder, Disney+, Netflix, and more.

The report notes that the growth shown in 2021 represents a slow-down of the growth last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to enormous surges in App Store downloads and spending, however for Apple to maintain that momentum through the first half of 2021 is an impressive feat. It can perhaps be considered more impressive because Sensor Tower says that installations of apps in the first half of the year actually fell by about 10% to 16.3 billion. That means every app installed on iPhone, on average is worth about $2.50 in App Store revenue. Of course, almost 85% of apps on the App Store are free, so all of this revenue comes from about 15% of apps on the App Store that aren't free or offer in-app purchases to users.

Sensor Tower says that global app spending nearly reached $65 billion across iPhone and Android in the same period, as always the vast majority of money earned was made on games, accounting for about $26 billion of the estimated $41.5 billion generated by Apple. It is important to note that Apple does not disclose these figures publicly, and Sensor Tower's work is based on estimates, they also don't include any consideration of taxes, or the money generated by in-app advertising.

Figures backed by Apple suggest billings and sales generated by Apple was $643 billion in 2020, with only a relatively small portion of this coming from the sale of digital goods and services. Apple says $511 billion of this is physical goods and services, whilst $46 billion comes from advertising.

Apple is under pressure on multiple fronts regarding its App Store because of the level of commission that some developers pay to the company and restrictions on how users can install apps and pay for things. Apple has issued multiple warnings of late regarding emerging legislation stating that its control over the App Store, in-app purchases, and the installation of software on iOS is key to the success, security, and user experience of devices like the iPhone 12, on of the best iPhones in recent years.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9