A new report from application store optimization company Sensor Tower revealed that the top 1 percent of U.S. iTunes App Store publishers with paid apps, or apps supporting in-app purchases, generated approximately 94 percent of all revenue on the iTunes App Store in the first quarter of 2016.
To put this into perspective, Sensor Tower said approximately $1.34 billion of the estimated $1.43 billion in net revenue generated by the iTunes App Store in the U.S. in the first quarter went to 623 publishers. The remaining revenue, approximately $85.8 million, was divided among the 61,677 other publishers with paid apps or apps supporting in-app purchases.
In terms of downloads, Sensor Tower found that the top 1 percent of publishers with at least one app ranking on the U.S. iTunes App Store in the first quarter of 2016 accounted for 70 percent of all downloads. According to the report, that means 1,270 publishers (out of the total of 127,000) accounted for 70 percent of all downloads.
Breaking this figure down, Sensor Tower said there were approximately 1.38 billion app downloads on the U.S. iTunes App Store in the first quarter of 2016, and approximately 966 million of those were generated by the top 1 percent of publishers.
This dominance of the U.S. App Store’s revenue and downloads by such a small percentage of its publisher base probably doesn’t come as a surprise to most app marketers. The issues faced by companies hoping to get their apps discovered by Apple’s mobile audience are well documented and widely known, and continue to fuel rumors that a major overhaul of the store, focused on improving discoverability, is in the works.
Obviously, an App Store on which it’s easier to find new apps is in Apple’s best interest. It can only serve to attract more publishers—enticed by the idea that their apps won’t languish in obscurity—and drive more revenue, as users (hopefully) find and pay for more apps, and Apple takes its percentage of their gross earnings.
Sensor Tower’s complete report is available here.