Apple's commitment to encourage developers to build subscription-based apps now has a remarkable impact on the App Store's revenue. According to a new Sensor Tower report released later this week, sales per US iPhone grew by 36 percent from $ 58 in 2017 to $ 79 last year. As usual, much of that increase can be attributed to mobile gaming, which accounted for more than half of this average per device. However, there was more substantial growth in the categories outside of gaming – including those categories where subscription-based apps tend to rule the charts, the company thought.
According to the findings of the report, app spending per device in the United States increased more in the past year than in 2017.
From 2017 to 2018, iPhone users spent an average of $ 21 or more on in-app purchases and paid app downloads – an increase of 36 percent compared to the 23 percent increase from 2016 to 2017, when sales per device grew $ 47 to $ 58.
However, the 2018 figure was slightly lower than the 42 percent increase in average device expenditure between 2015 and 2016, when sales grew from $ 33 to $ 47, Sensor Tower noted.
As always, mobile games continued to play a major role in iPhone spending. In 2018, gaming accounted for nearly 56 percent of average consumer spending – or $ 44 of the total $ 79 spent per iPhone.
But what is more interesting is how the categories for non-gaming last year.
Some categories – including those where subscription-based apps dominate the top lists – saw even more annual growth in 2018, according to the company.
Entertainment apps increased their spend per device, for example, by 82 percent to $ 8 of the total in 2018. Lifestyle apps increased 86 percent to $ 3.90, up $ 2.10.
And although it was not the top five, Health & Fitness apps also grew 75 percent year-on-year to an average of $ 2.70, compared to $ 1.60 in 2017.
Other categories in the top five include apps for music and social networks, both of which grew by 22 percent.
These data indicate that subscription apps play an important role in increasing iPhone consumer spending.
The news comes at a time when Apple has reported that iPhone sales are slowing, which is driving the company to rely more on services to continue to drive sales. This includes not only App Store subscriptions, but also includes Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, App Store Search ads, AppleCare, and more.
Now that subscriptions are becoming more popular, Apple must remain vigilant to those who want to abuse the system.
In the past few weeks, for example, a number of sneaky subscription apps have been found in the App Store. They converted duplo users into paid memberships with tricky buttons, hidden text, instant tests that changed in days and the use of other deceptive tactics.
Apple later ran into problems by removing some of the apps and updating its developer guidelines with stricter rules on how subscriptions should look and how they should work.
If the App Store is not properly monitored or if there are no limits to the overuse of subscriptions, this can ensure that users do not have to download new apps at all, especially if users start to think that each app has a financial commitment the long term comes.
Developers need to be smart to convert users and keep subscribers amid this shift from paid apps to apps that come with a monthly bill. App creators must market their benefits in the right way and even consider offering bundles to increase value.
But in the short term, the big takeaway for developers is that there is still good money to be made in the App Store, even if sales of the iPhone slow down.