A study commissioned by Apple that aims to measure the total global economic impact of the App Store for the first time, revealed that the company’s app ecosystem resulted in an estimated $519 billion USD (roughly $704 billion CAD) in sales over the course of 2019.
Of that total number, 80 percent, or $413 billion (about $560 billion CAD), relates directly to the sale of physical goods and services. Beyond that, roughly 12 percent or $61 billion USD (about $85 billion CAD) of overall App Store activity comes from digital goods and services, including music/video subscriptions and in-app purchases.
Apple typically takes between a 15 percent and 30 percent cut of the sale of digital goods through the App Store. However, the study claims that more than 85 percent of the $519 billion total went to “third-party developers and businesses of all sizes” of which the company does not take a cut.
This commission is often referred to as the “Apple Tax.” To avoid giving up this cut to Apple, platforms like Spotify often ask customers to sign up for subscriptions on their websites, making the process slightly more complicated. Back in 2019, Spotify made an antitrust complaint with the European Union related to Apple taking a 30 percent cut of its subscription revenue through the music streaming service’s iOS app. Spotify also made claims related to Apple’s alleged monopoly over the App Store in the same complaint.
The study states that in-app advertising accounted for the final nine percent, or $45 billion (about $61 billion CAD), with 44 percent of this number coming from mobile games.
The study, which seems to aim to quantify App Store activity that Apple doesn’t take a cut of, was done by third-party research company the Analysis Group but put forward by Apple. The research firm utilized a few “different methodologies to estimate billings and sales facilitated by the App Store ecosystem for each of these monetization strategies,” according to the press release.