I noted some interesting statistics mentioned by Tim Cook at the opening address at the WWDC 2018 today;
- 20 million Apple developers,
- $100 billion revenue paid to App developers since the App Store launched in 2008.
- In June 2017, it was $70 billion (from https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2017/06/developer-earnings-from-the-app-store-top-70-billion/),
- The revenue from June 2017 to the same period in 2018 is around $30 billion.
What I thought was interesting was the app to developers ratio of 1:10, i.e. one App Store app for every ten registered Apple developers.
The number of apps in the App Store is estimated around 2 million (from https://www.statista.com/statistics/276623/number-of-apps-available-in-leading-app-stores/) to 2.1 million (from https://www.lifewire.com/how-many-apps-in-app-store-2000252). This implies that not all developers feature their apps in the App Store and multiple developers work on a single app.
The average app earns $75,000 per year (although newly released apps would earn more than existing apps).
From a revenue perspective, of the 2 million apps, about 80% of apps are free (from https://www.quora.com/How-many-paid-apps-are-in-the-iOS-App-Store), meaning that $30 billion was earnt from 20% of 2 million apps (or about 400,000 apps) which equates to $75,000 per app.
Given that 80% of apps are free, most App Developers do not source an income solely from the App Store, i.e. most apps are developed as a hobby.
If the App Store revenue was shared across all developers, that would result in $30 billion revenue divided by number of developers of 20 million equals $1,500 in revenue for each developer for 2017-18 period from the App Store. Obviously, there must be other sources of income for developers outside the App Store and not all developers are profit focused (i.e. as determined by the large proportion of free apps available).
It is probably fair to say that given that 80% of apps are free, most App Developers are developing apps as a hobby(*) and do not source their main income from the App Store.
(*) Stack Overflow 2018 survey reported over 80% of developers code for a hobby, refer https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2018/).