Sales at Apple’s App Store are at an all-time high, buoyed by the popularity of games like Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run and an uptick in subscription services.
Record-breaking sales in Apple’s App Store earned developers who sold apps through the store more than $20 billion in 2016 – a 40% jump from the previous year and double the sums generated two years ago. Given Apple’s 30% cut, the total amount of consumer spending on apps was likely around $28.5 billion.
In December, the App Store’s highest-grossing month to date, sales topped $3 billion with the launch of Nintendo’s Super Mario Run. The game was downloaded more than 40 million times in the first four days. Nintendo’s megahit Pokemon Go was the most downloaded app of the year.
New Year’s Day was the App Store’s biggest sales day in its history, with customers spending nearly $240 million on apps and in-app purchases. Apple expects the consumer trend to continue in 2017.
Another key contributor to Apple’s recent success, also outside the hardware realm, is its subscription-based apps such as Netflix, HBO Now, Spotify and MLB.com At Bat. Billings from these services climbed 74% in 2016, reaching $2.7 billion, Reuters reports.
These developments suggest that Apple is becoming more diversified, and less dependent on the ups and downs of iPhone sales. These have slowed; last year the iPhone saw its first year-on-year sales decline since 2007. Meanwhile Apple’s services business is gaining in importance. Revenues from the App Store, Apple Pay and Apple Music rose 24% in the most recent quarter to $6.3 billion, according to Nasdaq.