Over 900 mobile app publishers earned $1 million for the first time in 2021: Report – BusinessLine

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The number of mobile app publishers that recorded $1 million or more in annual net income in 2022 has nearly doubled since 2016.
Slightly more than 900 publishers globally are projected to surpass this milestone across the App Store and Google Play in 2021, according to data from Sensor Tower.
This is an increase of around 91 per cent over 2016’s total of 475.
The number of iOS publishers crossing this mark will reach 581, up 87 per cent from 310 in 2016. A similar trend is visible on Google Play, where the platform’s first-time million-dollar-plus publishers increased from 165 in 2016 to 325 this year. This represents 97 per cent increase, surpassing the App Store’s performance in this regard by 6 percentage points.
While consumer spending has continued to witness a positive growth, the number of publishers crossing the $1 million net income milestone for the first time this year is likely to decline year-over-year in 2021, as per the report.
"This is likely due the result of consumer behavior continuing to normalise in the wake of an outsized year for new app downloads in 2020. Based on our install estimates, consumers experimented with fewer new apps this year than last, which saw adoption driven to staggering levels at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic," Sensor Tower said.
636 publishers reached or exceed $1 million in annual net revenue for the first time in 2020 on the App Store. This number is expected to decline by nearly 9 per cent in 2021. Google Play recorded 367 publishers surpassing that milestone last year. With this, the total in 2021 will be 11 per cent below that figure.
Further, even as more publishers have historically earned their first $1 million or more in net revenue on the App Store each year, the gap between Apple’s App Store and Google Play is reducing.
The delta between the two marketplaces was at its peak in 2017. The App Store produced 2.7 times the number of Google Play in 2017. However, the Apple Store will produce about 1.8 times more first-time $1 million-plus earning publishers than Google’s this year.
"This trend reflects the increased velocity in overall consumer spending on Google’s platform," as per the report.
Consumers are expected to spend around $47.9 billion in 2021 on Google Play, up 23.5 per cent y-o-y. That is nearly 6 percentage points higher than Apple’s growth which is expected to be around 17.7 per cent this year as iOS consumer spending reaches an estimated $85.1 billion.
"Mobile game publishers have historically represented the largest share of first-time million-dollar earners on the App Store," as per the report.
185 mobile game publishers are expected to earn $1 million or more on the App Store in 2021. This is nearly 32 per cent of the platform’s total new million-dollar-plus earners.
The Social Networking and Entertainment categories are expected to take the second and third spot .
Of the new million dollar earners, 62 belong to the Social Networking category, representing 11 per cent, while Entertainment is expected to see 41 publishers, or about 7 per cent.
Productivity and Sports are expected to record a highest y-o-y growth. 21 publishers in the Productivity category recorded $1 million net revenue milestone for the first time in 2020. It is expected to grow 6 per cent this year to 34. The number of publishers reaching the milestone in the Sports category is expected to increase from five in 2020 to 18 in 2021, or about 3 pe rcent.
On Google Play, similar to the App Store, mobile game publishers historically represent the lion’s share of new publishers reaching the milestone in a given year.
139 publishers are expected to surpass that milestone in 2021, representing 43 per cent of all publishers to do so for the first time.
It is followed by the Social category where 36 publishers are expected to do so, about 11 per cent of the total, while Entertainment will come in third with 32, or around 10 per cent.
The number of Communication app publishers out of the total recorded the highest growth in 2021 from 2020 at about 84 per cent, going up from six to 11 for about 3.4 percent of the total.
Even as the App Store holds its lead in terms of producing first time million-dollar-plus publishers each year, consumer spending on Google Play is increasing at a faster pace.
"Even bigger shifts are coming to the mobile market, however, with changes in the share of revenue taken by platform owners potentially rolling out next year along with more third-party payment options. Time will tell how this will affect publishers on both Apple’s and Google’s platforms and which developers will be able to reap the benefits," Sensor Tower added.
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