The iOS app economy continued its track record as an engine of economic growth and opportunity in 2021, supporting more than 2.2 million jobs in the US and helping small businesses find more success than ever. The insights come as two new research analyses show the iOS app economy’s support for entrepreneurs to create new businesses, to innovate and reach customers through the pandemic, and to grow their teams of coders, designers, and creatives — contributing to one of the most thriving and innovative global markets that exist today.
One new analysis, “Spotlight on Small Business & App Creators on the App Store” — conducted by independent economists from Analysis Group — found that developers’ earnings have increased significantly over the past two years. While earnings for all developers have grown, revenue for smaller developers active on the App Store in 2019 increased by 113 percent over the past two years — outpacing the earnings growth of large developers by more than double. In the US, those smaller developers, defined as those earning up to $1 million a year and with fewer than 1 million annual downloads, saw an above-average increase of 118 percent in earnings since 2019.
Together, this research demonstrates that as more businesses have used apps to reach their customers in innovative ways over the past two years, these digital and hybrid shifts have endured even as COVID-related restrictions have lifted in many parts of the world. These developers and their apps have helped people find new and often lasting ways to collaborate with colleagues, find entertainment, hone their creativity, and connect with friends and family.
In their research, “Spotlight on Small Business & App Creators on the App Store,” economists from Analysis Group examine how entrepreneurs in the iOS app economy have continued to innovate and grow. In total, the research paints a picture of a thriving and dynamic app ecosystem where opportunities and innovations have flourished.
In 2021, thousands of small business and new app creators joined the App Store from all around the world. Of this set of new developers, approximately 24 percent came from Europe, 23 percent from China, 14 percent from the US, 4.3 percent from Japan, and 34 percent from other regions including Korea, India, and Brazil. And over the last two years, the number of smaller and emerging developers joining the App Store has grown — for instance, in the UK, the number of small developers new to the App Store grew by almost 40 percent since 2019, and, in Germany, it grew by over 25 percent.
As these developers take advantage of the App Store’s capabilities that make it easy to distribute apps in 175 global markets, about 40 percent of all downloads of apps from small businesses and emerging app creators came from users outside of the developers’ home countries in 2021.
The research also finds the App Store has helped entrepreneurs start new apps and rapidly scale their businesses. To analyze the paths to growth of developers that earned more than $1 million on the App Store in 2021, the economists looked back at a longer time period and found that 45 percent of today’s large developers were either not on the App Store, or had less than $10,000 in earnings, just five years ago.