Apple said Thursday that its App Store recorded more than $20 billion in sales for developers last year, a new record. The App Store’s business remains solid even as iPhone sales volumes are falling. The figure suggests the App Store’s total revenue topped $28.5 billion; taking a 30% share of sales, Apple earned $8.5 billion. Growth looks to be 40% in 2016, but it is hard to say for sure as Apple does not publish precise figures that can be used for comparative analyses.
With steadily rising iPhone sales globally until 2016, App Store revenue surged. As iPhone volumes fell in the last fiscal year, growth came from a mix of surging sales in China, new games and rising subscription billings.
According to Apple, last year’s sales of apps increased 90% in China, despite pressure from the Chinese government. Beijing has successfully forced Apple to remove the New York Times from its App Store, for instance.
By contrast, Nintendo Co.’s new game “Super Mario Run” generated more than 40 million downloads in the App Store in its first four days. Subscription billings for apps such as Netflix and Tinder increased 74% last year to $2.7 billion.
On Jan 1, 2017, the App Store set a sales record for a single day with nearly $240 million in purchases. That followed more than $3 billion in sales during the December holiday season.
While the App Store accounts for just a small portion of Apple’s overall sales (they totaled $215.64 billion during its fiscal year ended Sept. 24) most revenue from apps flows straight to the bottom line, making it a key contributor to the company’s $45.69 billion in annual profit.