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UPDATE 25 May 2022

UK iOS app economy enjoys record growth, supporting more than 440,000 jobs

Over the past two years, earnings of smaller UK developers on the App Store grow by 84 percent as 40 percent more small creators join the App Store
An illustration of people and their corresponding apps.
The iOS app economy continued as an engine of economic growth and opportunity in 2021, supporting more than 440,000 jobs across the country — a 21 percent increase since 2020 — and helping small businesses find more success than ever. This growth makes the UK the leading provider of iOS app economy jobs in Europe where it has grown to support 2.2 million jobs — a 7 percent increase since last year.
The insights come as new research analyses show the iOS app economy’s support for entrepreneurs to create new businesses, to innovate and reach customers through the pandemic, and to grow their teams of coders, designers, and creatives — contributing to one of the most thriving and innovative global markets that exist today.
One new analysis, “Spotlight on Small Business & App Creators on the App Store” conducted by independent economists from Analysis Group — found that developers’ earnings have increased significantly over the past two years. While earnings for all developers have grown, revenue for smaller developers active on the App Store in 2019 increased by 113 percent over the past two years — outpacing the earnings growth of large developers by more than double. In the UK, those small developers, defined as those making up to $1 million a year and with fewer than 1 million annual downloads, saw an 84 percent in earnings since 2019.
Additionally, a separate, new analysis from the Progressive Policy Institute sheds light on job creation in the iOS app economy. This research examines how the iOS app economy has helped create millions of jobs — ranging from software development, to sales, to designers, and more.
Together, this research demonstrates that as more businesses have used apps to reach their customers in innovative ways over the past two years, these digital and hybrid shifts have endured even as COVID-related restrictions have lifted in many parts of the world. These developers and their apps have helped people find new and often lasting ways to collaborate with colleagues, find entertainment, hone their creativity, and connect with friends and family.
Infographic with six panels on the global success of small businesses on the App Store.

Providing Great Opportunities for Growth for Smaller UK Developers

The success of the App Store has been widely shared by small businesses.
“The UK is home to some of the world’s most exciting developers, and we’re thrilled that the sector has continued to thrive, leading the way in Europe and supporting a record number of jobs,” said Christopher Moser, Apple’s senior director of App Store. “Apps developed by talented, innovative UK developers are used by millions of people to help them live, work, and play. Apple is proud to play a part in their success, and we look forward to supporting them as they reach new heights.”
Curio was part of Apple’s App Store Small Business Program. Founded in London in 2016, its mission is to turn great journalism into opportunities for knowledge, open-mindedness, and inspiration in everyday life through high-quality audio content.
“Apple has been a valuable partner, helping Curio become the pioneer app for discovering the best audio journalism stories,” said Govind Balakrishnan, Curio’s co-CEO and co-founder. “In only a few years, we have tripled our UK team to over 30; raised $15 million USD from top global VCs; partnered with over 30 premium publications and culture shapers, including Gillian Anderson; and taken remarkable audio journalism to 167 countries. We have redefined our subscribers’ relationship to the news by shifting from breaking news to thoughtful ideas and stories shaping our world. None of this would have been possible without hands-on support and guidance from Apple.”
Uptime, also a member of the App Store Small Business Program, is a global “knowledge hacking” app, which is a micro-learning experience providing the key insights from the most relevant books, courses, documentaries, and podcasts in five minutes.
“Partnering with Apple has helped give us all the tools and resources we need to create a truly global product that is now available in 175 regions,” said Jamie True, Uptime’s founder. “We’ve now grown to a team of over 50 people, all focused on delivering on our mission to inspire people to learn in just five minutes. Our work with the App Store team is vital to our growth plans, and we’re looking forward to continuing the partnership as we work hard to make Uptime available on even more devices.”

Smaller and Emerging Developers Find Global Success on the App Store

In their research, “Spotlight on Small Business & App Creators on the App Store,” economists from Analysis Group examine how entrepreneurs in the iOS app economy have continued to innovate and grow. In total, the research paints a picture of a thriving and dynamic app ecosystem where opportunities and innovations have flourished.
In 2021, thousands of small business and new app creators joined the App Store from all around the world. Of this set of new developers, approximately 24 percent came from Europe, 23 percent from China, 14 percent from the US, 4.3 percent from Japan, and 34 percent from other regions including Korea, India, and Brazil. And over the last two years, the number of smaller and emerging developers joining the App Store has grown — for instance, in the UK, the number of small developers new to the App Store grew by almost 40 percent since 2019, and, in Germany, it grew by over 25 percent. 
As these developers take advantage of the App Store’s capabilities that make it easy to distribute apps in 175 global markets, about 40 percent of all downloads of apps from small businesses and emerging app creators came from users outside of the developers’ home countries in 2021. 
The research also finds the App Store has helped entrepreneurs start new apps and rapidly scale their businesses. To analyse the paths to growth of developers that earned more than $1 million on the App Store in 2021, the economists looked back at a longer time period and found that 45 percent of today’s large developers were either not on the App Store, or had less than $10,000 in earnings, just five years ago.
The full Analysis Group research on small business developers and app creators on the App Store is now available.
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