Apple App Store Sets $500M Sales Record at Start of 2015

The new App Store sales record was set in the first week of January, and New Year's Day 2015 was the store's biggest sales day ever, according to Apple.

Apple App Store sales

Apple's App Store set an all-time one-day sales record on New Year's Day 2015, and the store billed customers for $500 million worth of apps and in-app purchases in the first week of January alone, according to new figures the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology company unveiled on Jan. 8.

Both sales milestones come on the heels of a huge, record-breaking 2014 for the App Store, which saw customer app and in-app purchase billings rise 50 percent, while the sale of apps generated more than $10 billion in revenue for developers, according to the company.

And since the App Store was launched in 2008, developers have now earned a cumulative $25 billion from the sale of apps and games, the company said.

"This year is off to a tremendous start after a record-breaking year for the App Store and our developer community," Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in a statement. "We're so proud of the creativity and innovation developers bring to the apps they create for iOS users and that the developer community has now earned over $25 billion."

The App Store offers more than 1.4 million apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users in 155 countries around the world, with more than 725,000 of these apps made for iPad, according to Apple. App Store customers can find apps in 24 categories, including games, social networking, sports, health and fitness, travel and more.

In a related note, Apple points to some 627,000 app design and development jobs that have been created in the United States alone since the creation of the App Store and the maturing of its iOS operating system, according to the company.

While the App Store sales figures are certainly substantial, two industry analysts contacted by eWEEK said that the numbers may portray more financial success for a very few iOS developers at the top of the iOS ecosystem, rather than for a majority of individual developers.

Yes, the iOS ecosystem brings in lots of revenue, said Dan Maycock, an analyst with Transform, but since only the top apps make real money for their developers, it's likely that only the top 1 to 5 percent of the apps being sold in the store are bringing in the bulk of the revenue figures being touted by Apple.

"It's definitely some impressive numbers," said Maycock, "but I just know that it's being driven by a relatively small number of players. It's more like a gold rush phenomenon where while a lot of people did very, very, well, the vast majority didn't."

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, agreed that the impressive App Store revenue claims are not likely trickling down into the wallets of the average iOS developer.

"While it's true that the App Store has been a great success and a benefactor to the development community, I'd say it's only been a great help to a small number of those developers," said King. "It's hard to break into that space and make a living there. It's hard for the small developers to get a toehold. It's kind of like a 'winning the lottery story' to have a hit and make a lot of money."

Maycock said he was also struck by the fact that Apple strategically unveiled its App Store revenue news during the week of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), even though the company is again not displaying its wares or officially attending the event.

"They find a way to get noticed even though they don't show up," said Maycock. "This has happened the last few years. This is one of their build-ups."