The App Store is kind of a big deal, but you probably don't need numbers to tell you that. Just think about how often you pay for apps and, more importantly, how frequently you pull up the App Store to find new apps to purchase.
According to the latest figures from Apple, developers earned $26.5 billion from App Store purchases in 2017. (The company doesn't tend to break out Apple's raw sales from apps, including how much it makes, in its New Year's update.)
Asymco analyst Horace Dediu has taken a deeper look at what this figure means for the App Store, and the numbers are certainly impressive. According to his research, Apple developers now make more than the entire 2016 revenue of the McDonald's Corporation, and the App Store is the single largest contributor to Apple's services segment, which grossed over $57 billion in 2017. In other words, the App Store is basically its own Fortune 100 company within Apple based on the amount of money it pulls in.
Apple paid out $20 billion to developers in 2016, which means that Apple's payments have enjoyed a year-to-year growth rate of just around 33 percent. Cumulatively, Dediu notes, Apple has paid developers around $86.5 billion, a figure the App Store reached in fewer than 10 years. And just this year alone, Apple's customers are likely to spend $100 million daily on apps.
"I've made comparisons before with the app business being bigger than the film industry (and much bigger than the music industry.) This was considering Android revenues and iOS combined as 'app revenues'. As of this year the App Store alone will overtake Global Box Office revenues," Dediu writes.
"Of course this is only an observation of the scale of App Store rather than a judgement of the benefit obtained from either medium or the substitutability of one for the other. The reason scale should be noted is that the App Store, and Apple services overall, is becoming one of the largest enterprises in the world. Even more importantly, it should be noted for its rate of growth."
Dediu estimates that Apple pulled in roughly $180 billion from mobile apps and services in 2017. Toss in hardware sales of iOS devices, like Apple's flagship iPhone X , and that number balloons up to $380 billion. Accordingly, he's confident that Apple will be able to clear half a trillion from the iOS economy in 2019.
"Valuing this, especially as a part of Apple's intrinsic value, is a challenge but it's probably worth doing. There are implications in the robustness or sustainability of the underlying business," he writes.