The mobile app industry has been active for over a decade now, generating billions of dollars in revenue for Apple, Google and thousands of mobile app developers.
While originally not perceived as necessary by Apple or Google, which did not add app stores to the first versions of iOS and Android, it has become a key revenue stream for both of them.
Even with less than 15 percent market share, iOS has led the way in revenue generation for app developers. This is partly due to iPhone being more popular in regions with high income, such as Japan and the United States, which also tend to spend more on apps.
In comparison, Google Play’s largest markets are India, South-east Asia and South America, which typically generate less revenue per user. Apple also operates in China, while the Google Play store is banned. Several third-party Android app stores are available in China, and are estimated to generate over $8 billion in yearly revenue.
Both platforms have matured in the past few years, adding new ways for developers to increase revenue generation. These include a multi-purpose advertising platform, in-app purchasing systems and subscription services, all of which is covered in this app market analysis.
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App Revenue Key Statistics
- Android and iOS app revenue reached $133 billion revenue in 2021, a 19% year-on-year increase. iOS was responsible for 63% of total app revenue in 2021
- Games accounted for 67% of total app revenue in 2021. Google Play contributed $37.3 billion, or about 41% of the total
- Outside of games, iOS was responsible for 76 percent of the $32.1 billion revenue created in 2020. Google Play generated $6.7 billion non-gaming revenue in 2020, to iOS’ $24.7 billion
- Subscription revenues increased to $13 billion in 2020, iOS was responsible for 79 percent of revenue
- TikTok was the highest grossing app and PUBG Mobile the highest grossing game in 2020
App revenues have grown by over 15 percent each year. There was a decline in percentage growth between 2020 to 2021, going from 24.7 to 19.8 percent.
Annual App Revenues
iOS App Revenue
Apple’s App Store, while far behind Android in total users, continues to outperform in revenue generation, despite having less than 15 percent worldwide market share.
Annual iOS App Revenue
|Year||iOS app revenue|
Google Play App Revenue
Android has seen a 167 percent increase in revenue over four years, but it is still far behind Apple’s App Store in total revenue generation.
Annual Google Play app revenue
|Year||Google Play app revenue|
Gaming app revenues
Games remain the primary form of revenue generation for both iOS and Android, accounting for 67% of all app revenue
Annual gaming app revenue
|Year||Gaming app revenue|
iOS gaming app revenue
Apple’s share of gaming app revenue declined slightly in 2021, as did its percentage growth, from 25.2% in 2020 to 9.8% in 2021.
Annual iOS gaming app revenue
|Year||iOS gaming app revenue|
Google Play gaming app revenue
Google Play was responsible for 41% of all gaming app revenue in 2021, a percentage share that has been steadily increasing.
Annual Google Play gaming app revenue
|Year||Google Play gaming app revenue|
Non-gaming app revenues
Non-gaming revenues increased by 35.2% in 2021, a higher percentage growth than 2020. However, both are lower than percentage growth in 2019, which is when a few major apps removed mobile subscription services.
Annual non-gaming app revenue
|Year||Non-gaming app revenue|
iOS non-gaming app revenue
Apple’s App Store is responsible for 75% of all non-gaming revenue, which is to be expected as iPhone’s largest markets are the China, Japan and the US, the three largest markets for non-gaming revenues.
Annual iOS non-gaming app revenue
|Year||Non-gaming iOS app revenue|
Google Play non-gaming app revenue
Revenues for non-gaming apps on the Google Play store increased by 57% in 2021, the highest rate since 2018.
Annual Google Play non-gaming app revenue
|Year||Non-gaming Google Play app revenue|
Subscription app revenue
Subscription revenue has continued to grow year-on-year, despite several setbacks from major apps, such as Netflix, Spotify and Epic Games, removing subscription services from both platforms.
|Year||Subscription app revenue|
iOS subscription app revenue
Apple’s App Store generated the lion’s share of subscription revenue, $12.1 billion in 2021, or 78% of all subscription revenue.
|Year||iOS Subscription app revenue|
Google Play subscription app revenue
Google Play generated far less subscription revenue than iOS, but the ecosystem has continued to grow each year.
|Year||Google Play subscription app revenue|
App revenue by region
China, Japan and the United States are far ahead of all other countries in terms of app revenue generation, although Taiwan, South Korea and the UK generate over $2 billion each.