Apple-Financed Study Shows Small Developers Saw a 71% Increase in App Store Revenue Over Last Two Years

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A new Apple-financed study shows that between 2020 and 2022, small developers enjoyed App Store revenue growth of 71 percent, outpacing that of large developers.

The study, titled Small Business Developers and App Creators on the App Store in 2022, was backed by Apple and conducted by economists at Analysis Group, which defines “small developers” as those with fewer than a million downloads of their apps and less than $1 million per year in revenue. This group makes up more than 90% of the developers on the App Store.

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While small developers saw their earnings increase across all App Store categories, the largest leap in earnings came from apps in the health and fitness, sports, and lifestyle categories. US-based developers saw an 83% jump in earnings over the last 24 months.

Nearly 80% of those developers were also active in multiple storefronts and approximately 40% of their app downloads took place outside of the developers’ home countries.

Thousands of new developers joined the App Store for the first time in 2022. 25% of those new developers were located in Europe. 23% resided in China. 14% of new developers were based in the United States, and 4% of new developer sign-ups were based in Japan. 35% of new developers were based in other regions, including Brazil, India, and South Korea.

Further, 40% of the developers who made over $1 million last year were either not on the App Store at all or had less than $10,000 in earnings five years ago, suggesting that many developers who start out small grow quickly.

The Apple press release also highlighted a pair of developers whose apps have performed quite well over the last two years.

The mental wellness app Mindful Mamas, co-founded by licensed psychologist Terra LaRock, is designed to help mothers handle the challenges of motherhood. The app is operated by a small team of four who serve 20,000 monthly users, many of who access the app at least twice per day. 86% of active users reported feeling better after using the app.

Patrick Pozzuto, a landscape contractor with more than 10 years of experience, founded Landscape design app iScape. The app has seen triple-digit percentage growth each year and has been downloaded more than over 2.5 million times since its 2018 debut.

“As a founder, you have to stay at it with the latest and greatest technologies, and Apple has helped me do this. Even with the growth we naturally experienced during the pandemic, as people had more time to invest in home projects, we have continued to benefit year after year from our investment in industry-leading technologies,” Pozzuto said.

Apple has financed several studies by Analysis Group as it continues to face growing pressure from various quarters to allow app sideloading and the use of third-party app stores on its iPhone and iPad mobile devices. Apple is expected to allow European users to “sideload” apps from third-party app stores with the release of iOS 17 this fall, thanks to new European Union requirements.

Apple is also facing pressure from US government officials who are considering legislation that could force Apple to allow developers to offer their apps in third-party app stores while also allowing devs to use alternative in-app payment systems.

Apple often finances studies like these to influence regulators and the public to come around to its way of thinking.

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