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UPDATE 15 March 2021

UK iOS app economy has a breakthrough year, grows to support 330,000 jobs

Despite economic challenges posed by the pandemic, the iOS app economy created more opportunities for UK developers than ever

Illustration of people using apps on Apple devices.
As the pandemic forced people across the UK to adapt every aspect of their lives, and brick-and-mortar businesses to move online, the iOS app economy was a resilient source of opportunity, innovation, and economic growth. UK developers continued to grow their businesses and share new apps with the world, and the App Store now supports more than 330,000 jobs in the UK — an increase of more than 10 percent over the past year.
The App Store has become a powerful engine of economic growth in the UK and around the world since Apple launched it in 2008. As entrepreneurs moved their businesses online and established developers built on their successes, users discovered new apps to help them adapt to an increasingly virtual world.
Developers across the UK generated to date more than £3.6 billion in total earnings — growing 22 percent in 2020 from the previous year. That trend echoed across Europe, where the iOS app economy grew to support 1.7 millions jobs — a 7 percent increase since 2019. The UK leads Europe in iOS app developer jobs, with Germany and France estimated to each host over 250,000 jobs. 
Growth in the UK was driven by the innovations and breakthrough success of UK developers, whose apps users relied on for learning, working out, keeping track of their health, or finding ways to stay connected and entertained. During the pandemic, people turned to UK workout apps like One You Couch to 5K, fitness plan app Fiit, and sleep support app Sleepiest Sleep Sounds Stories. UK developer Moshi, a sleep and mindfulness app for children, has seen a rapid growth in downloads and subscriptions over the last year, leading to a 50 percent expansion of its team with 10 new hires.
“In a year like no other, the UK has remained a vibrant and innovative hub for entrepreneurs and app developers,” said Christopher Moser, senior director of the App Store. “More people in the UK than ever before are working as part of the iOS app ecosystem, creating exciting apps enjoyed by people all over the world.”
In a year that saw so many incredible app innovations, here are a few highlights from UK developers whose apps found success on the App Store and touched more lives than ever before.
Busuu, the world’s largest online language learning community, has seen incredible growth in the last year with 70 new hires, doubling the size of the company. This year, it plans to expand the team by more than 50 percent. 
“As more people around the world turned to language learning during lockdown, we saw huge growth here at Busuu — it’s been fantastic to see more people join our community to learn together,” said Bernhard Niesner, CEO of Busuu. “Throughout our growth journey, the App Store team has been incredibly supportive, and it’s been a real pleasure working with them.”
Digital Workroom’s Noted app, displayed on iPhone 12.
The App Store helped Digital Workroom, which develops productivity apps like Noted (above) and aids businesses trying to create their own branded apps, double the size of its workforce in the last 12 months.
Digital Workroom creates innovative apps and supports businesses trying to design their own. It recently partnered with the University of Manchester to develop an app to safely record important information for patients during visits to the doctor’s office. 
“This has been an exciting year for us, and the App Store has enabled the business to expand quickly, doubling the size of our workforce in the last 12 months,” explained Terenze Yuen, CEO of Digital Workroom. “Helping general practitioners to use apps to provide healthcare during the pandemic has been incredibly rewarding and a reminder of the important role apps can play in our lives.”
Hutch Games’s Rebel Racing game, displayed on iPad Pro.
Hutch Games, the developer behind the popular free-to-play game Rebel Racing (above), has grown from four team members to 117, with 31 hired in the past year alone. In 2021, the company plans to add 30 to 40 more people.
Hutch Games creates free-to-play games like the popular F1 Manager, Top Drives, and Rebel Racing. The company started with a team of four and has grown to 117 people, hiring 31 over the last year alone. Hutch plans to grow its workforce by another 30 or 40 people in 2021. 
“We’ve had an amazing few years, which has allowed us to grow and take more risks,” said Shaun Rutland, CEO of Hutch Games. “We saw our figures double during lockdown, so it’s helpful that we can get our games out there so easily via the App Store.”
UK developers benefit from the App Store Small Business Program’s reduced commission. Launched earlier this year, the industry-leading initiative cuts in half the commission small developers pay. The savings have helped small developers grow their digital revenue and invest in the future of their businesses, so they can continue to build the quality apps customers love.
The UK’s booming iOS app economy is a reflection of the hard work and innovation of so many developers. An app marketplace where business owners can reach customers around the world, the App Store encompasses a global customer base of more than 1.65 billion Apple devices around the world in 175 countries and over 40 languages, with more than 180 local payment methods and 45 accepted currencies.
Since its launch in 2008, the App Store has been an incredible business opportunity for developers and a safe and trusted marketplace for users around the world. The more than 1.8 million apps on the App Store help creators, dreamers, and learners of all ages and backgrounds connect with the tools and information they need to build a brighter future and a better world.
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