Apple developers made over $1 trillion in 2022, as Apple preps launch of next platform at WWDC 2023

At its annual developer conference on June 5, Apple is expected to unveil its next big product and its next platform for developers to launch software and content.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

An independent study by economists from Analysis Group found that Apple's App Store ecosystem helped developers achieve $1.1 trillion in billings and sales in 2022. Furthermore, 90% of this total originated from transactions that did not happen through the App Store, meaning that these amounts went directly to developers, with no commission paid to Apple.

According to a separate analysis from the Progressive Policy Institute, Apple's iOS App economy also supports over 4.8 million jobs in the U.S. and Europe, with about 2.4 million in each region. 

Also: Every Apple product we're expecting at WWDC 2023

Analysis Group economists estimate that App Store developers earned $910 billion in sales from physical goods and services, $109 billion from in-app ads, and $104 billion in digital goods and services sales. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a press release, noted, "As this report shows, the App Store is a vibrant, innovative marketplace where opportunity thrives, and we're as committed as ever to investing in developers' success and the app economy's future."

That investment in developers could take an interesting turn next week with Apple's expected launch of a virtual reality headset at  WWDC 2023. Rather than a mass-market product, the "Reality Pro" headset is seen by some observers as part of a development kit for app developers who have related vertical applications.

Also: Small developers are crushing it on Apple's App Store

According to Analysis Group, the growth behind the App Store ecosystem is attributed to an increase in demand for travel and ride-hailing services and growth in advertising spending in social media and retail apps.

As pandemic travel restrictions eased, app categories like travel increased sales by 84% in 2022, and app categories like ride-hailing increased sales by 45%, indicating a promising rebound.

But some pandemic-era trends in the app economy stuck around and increased sales, like food and grocery. iOS app-based food delivery and pickup sales have more than doubled, and grocery sales have tripled, since 2019.

Also: Apple's VR/AR headset is coming. Here's everything we know so far

The creator economy that swelled during the pandemic continues to make significant strides in the App Store, as the highest growth in digital goods and services belongs to the app-based entertainment category.

Since 2019, U.S. developers' billings and sales have increased by more than 80% and have grown yearly. From 2019 to 2020, developers saw 27% growth, another 27% growth from 2020 to 2021, and another 29% growth from 2021 to 2022.

The Analysis Group attributes this growth to the App Store's global scope, as the platform supports more than 195 payment methods and accepts 44 different currencies across 175 storefronts within countries around the world.

Also: Apple sets June date for its biggest conference of 2023, with headset launch expected

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