According to a new study commissioned by Apple, App Store billing and sales totaled $643 billion at the end of 2020. That figure is 24% higher than a year earlier, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many consumers to spend more time on their phones and tablets.
Apple is facing increased scrutiny over how much revenue it makes from in-app purchases. The company charges between 15% and 30% on purchases of software or digital goods from apps distributed through the App Store.
Developers have argued that Apple’s App Store platform is unfair to small companies. More recently, Epic Games sued Apple, claiming that the company’s app store violated fair competition.
Apple denied the allegations and said that it “does not have a dominant market share in any of the categories in which it does business,” and recently cut App Store commissions to 15% for smaller companies. In response to the lawsuit, Apple argues that it created the App Store and establishes rules that are designed to ensure high quality and secure apps.
The sales volume study includes both transactions that Apple handles, including paid apps and in-app purchases, as well as purchases and other economic activity that occurred through apps in which Apple was not directly involved, such as in-app ad sales. The report says that about 90 percent of transactions within the App Store ecosystem in 2020, took place outside the App Store, meaning that Apple did not charge a commission on those sales.
According to the study, the $643 billion generated by iPhone and iPad apps in 2020 consists of:
* $511 billion from sales of physical goods and services through apps, including $383 billion from retail apps, $38 billion from travel apps and $36 billion from food delivery and pickup;
* $86 billion from digital goods and services;
* $46 billion from in-app advertising.