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Apple touts revenue growth for App Store small developers as rumors say iOS 17 will enable sideloading

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Apple touts revenue growth for App Store small developers as rumors say iOS 17 will enable sideloading

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As it battles App Store regulatory pushback around the world, Apple has published the results of a new study from economists at the Analysis Group. According to the study, which was funded by Apple, small developers on the App Store have seen their revenue grow by 71% over the past two years.

Apple has previously teamed up with the Analysis Group for multiple studies. Last April, for example, Apple touted the success of third-party apps on the App Store by citing research from the Analysis Group that claimed third-party apps often beat its own built-in services. For example, the report highlighted that Spotify has 1.6x higher usage than Apple Music and showed Netflix has 17x higher usage than Apple TV+.

Shortly thereafter, the Analysis Group and Apple shared the results of a separate study focused on the impact of the App Store Small Business Program, which allows developers to qualify for a commission rate of 15% if they earn up to, but not more than, $1 million per year.

Now, Apple has published a new press release with the results of another study conducted by the economists at Analysis Group. The study, which was funded by Apple, claims that “small developers globally” grew revenue by 71% between 2020 and 2022 via the App Store. The study defines “small developers” as those who earn up to $1 million a year with fewer than one million annual downloads. The study also excludes developers who never had more than 1,000 annual downloads.

Stats from the study include the following:

  • In 2022, more than 90% of developers on the App Store were considered small developers.
  • In 2022, nearly 80% of small developers were active on multiple storefronts, and about 40% of total downloads of apps from all small developers came from users outside of each developer’s home country.
  • Total App Store earnings of small developers who were active in 2020 increased by 71% in 2022.
  • Health and fitness, sports, and lifestyle apps from small developers active in 2020 more than doubled their earnings in the last two years.
  • Over 40% of developers who sold digital goods and services on the App Store and earned more than $1 million in 2022 were either not on the App Store or had less than $10,000 in earnings five years before.

Apple’s efforts to promote the economic impact of the App Store come as it continues to face antitrust scrutiny around the world for its App Store rules. For instance, Apple will reportedly open the iPhone to third-party app stores and side-loading in the European Union as part of iOS 17 this fall. This comes in response to the Digital Markets Act, which implements a number of new requirements on platform operators such as Apple.

A survey in April suggested that at least 60% of Mac developers are interested in distributing their apps for iOS outside of the App Store if given the opportunity. Apple is clearly trying to counteract that by touting the success of the App Store for small businesses.

More details about the App Store Business Program can be found on Apple’s website.

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