iPhone owners in the US spent an average of $79 on apps in 2018, up 36% YOY

“Apple’s push to get developers to build subscription-based apps is now having a notable impact on App Store revenues,” Sarah Perez reports for TechCrunch. “According to a new report from Sensor Tower due out later this week, revenue generated per U.S. iPhone grew 36 percent, from $58 in 2017 to $79 last year.”

“According to the report’s findings, per-device app spending in the U.S. grew more over the past year than it did in 2017,” Perez reports. “From 2017 to 2018, iPhone users spent an average of $21 or more on in-app purchases and paid app downloads — a 36 percent increase compared with the 23 percent increase from 2016 to 2017, when revenue per device grew from $47 to $58.”

“As usual, mobile gaming continued to play a large role in iPhone spending. In 2018, gaming accounted for nearly 56 percent of the average consumer spend — or $44 out of the total $79 spent per iPhone,” Perez reports. “But what’s more interesting is how the non-gaming categories fared this past year. Some categories — including those where subscription-based apps dominate the top charts — saw even higher year-over-year growth in 2018, the firm found.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Last month, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates revealed that the world’s mobile users spent $71.3 billion on apps and games in 2018. Users of Apple’s App Store spent an estimated $46.6 billion in 2018, which was 88 percent more than the $24.8 billion spent on Google Play, Sensor Tower found.

Of course, we explained why this would be the case years ago:

Android is pushed to users who are, in general:

a) confused about why they should be choosing an iPhone over an inferior knockoff and therefore might be less prone to understand/explore their devices’ capabilities or trust their devices with credit card info for shopping; and/or
b) enticed with “Buy One Get One Free,” “Buy One, Get Two or More Free,” or similar ($100 Gift Cards with Purchase) offers.

Neither type of customer is the cream of the crop when it comes to successful engagement or coveted demographics; closer to the bottom of the barrel than the top, in fact. Android can be widespread and still demographically inferior precisely because of the way in which and to whom Android devices are marketed. Unending BOGO promos attract a seemingly unending stream of cheapskate freetards just as inane, pointless TV commercials about robots or blasting holes in concrete walls attract meatheads and dullards, not exactly the best demographics unless you’re peddling muscle building powders or grease monkey overalls.

Google made a crucial mistake: They gave away Android to “partners” who pushed and continue to push the product into the hands of the exact opposite type of user that Google needs for Android to truly thrive. Hence, Android is a backwater of second-rate, or worse, app versions that are only downloaded when free or ad-supported – but the Android user is notoriously cheap, so the ads don’t sell for much because they don’t work very well. You’d have guessed that Google would have understood this, but you’d have guessed wrong.

Google built a platform that depends heavily on advertising support, but sold it to the very type of customer who’s the least likely to patronize ads.

iOS users are the ones who buy apps, so developers focus on iOS users. iOS users buy products, so accessory makers focus on iOS users. iOS users have money and the proven will to spend it, so vehicle makers focus on iOS users. Etcetera. Android can have the Hee Haw demographic. Apple doesn’t want it or need it; it’s far more trouble than it’s worth.MacDailyNews, November 26, 2012

This is why Google pays Apple $12 billion per year to be Safari’s default each engine.

“All men are created equal.”

Well, not when it comes to users of smartphones and tablets…

The bottom line: Those who settle for Android devices are not equal to iOS users. The fact is that iOS users are worth significantly more than Android settlers to developers, advertisers, third-party accessory makers (speakers, cases, chargers, cables, etc.), vehicle makers, musicians, TV show producers, movie producers, book authors, carriers, retailers, podcasters… The list goes on and on.

The quality of the customer matters. A lot.

Facile “analyses” that look only at market (unit) share, equating one Android settler to one iOS user, make a fatal error by incorrectly equating users of each platform one-to-one.

When it comes to mobile operating systems, all users are simply not equal.SteveJack, MacDailyNews, November 15, 2014

Why Google is willing to pay Apple $12 billion per year – October 24, 2018
Analyst estimates Google will pay Apple $9 billion this year to remain default search – September 28, 2018
Apple thrives by going upscale: It is Economics 101 – September 26, 2018
Apple’s App Store is destroying Google Play in services and subscriptions – April 18, 2018
Apple takes U.S. market share from Android, dominates with 8 iPhones out of 10 best-selling smartphones – July 26, 2018
Apple’s iPhone X made 5 times the profit of 600 Android OEMs combined – April 18, 2018
Apple’s iPhone captured 86% of global handset profits in Q417; iPhone X alone took 35% of global handset profits – April 17, 2018
Apple App Store users spent nearly double that of Google Play users in Q417 – January 26, 2018
Apple’s iOS continues to attract content apps first, despite smaller unit share – October 30, 2017
Bernstein: Google to pay Apple $3 billion this year to remain the default search engine on iPhones and iPads – August 14, 2017
Higher income U.S. states use Apple iPhones; lower income states use Samsung Galaxy phones – September 27, 2016
iOS users are worth 10X more than those who settle for Android – July 27, 2016
Apple’s App Store revenue nearly double that of Google’s Android – April 20, 2016
Poor man’s iPhone: Android on the decline – February 26, 2015
Study: iPhone users are smarter and richer than those who settle for Android phones – January 22, 2015
Why Android users can’t have the nicest things – January 5, 2015
iPhone users earn significantly more than those who settle for Android phones – October 8, 2014
Yet more proof that Android is for poor people – June 27, 2014
More proof that Android is for poor people – May 13, 2014
Android users poorer, shorter, unhealthier, less educated, far less charitable than Apple iPhone users – November 13, 2013
IDC data shows two thirds of Android’s 81% smartphone share are cheap junk phones – November 13, 2013
CIRP: Apple iPhone users are younger, richer, and better educated than those who settle for Samsung knockoff phones – August 19, 2013
Newsflash: Apple sells premium products at premium prices to premium customers – October 23, 2012


  1. I personally find that Android users are no less technical than iPhone users. I find that most iPhone users are purchasing a fashion item, not a piece of technology. If the newest iPhone is visually distinguishable from the previous iPhones, that matters as much if. It more than subtle technical improvements.

    I also find that iPhone users are heavy social media users, including and especially Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

    I find that Android users like flexibility and are willing to risk lower security to get certain types of software that is unique to Android. I find that Android is popular with techies, people who don’t want to be trapped in the Apple Echo system, people who hate Apple for a variety of reasons, people who like having a wide choice of brands and models both high end and low end, and computer science students, interestingly enough.

    Android is obviously popular throughout the rest of the world because of cheap low end models that often perform as well as flagships. At the same time there are highly unique Very expensive Android phones.

    It’s not just Android people dumb and iOS people smart.

  2. I’ve got a buddy who develops software for the petroleum industry. He is working on some big Android app for phones and tablets. I asked why not iOS? He said that with Android you are more free to develop applications that meet your needs. With IOS you have to work within Apple’s restrictions.

  3. Wow, I’m not doing my fair share. On the other hand, I’ve used apps that are paid for indirectly. The United Airlines app just got a big makeover. My company contracts with Jira for bug tracking, Webex for meetings, and there was one more. I dont use it personally, it is used at trade shows to scan badges, order literature and such.

    1. You gave Apple a huge profit margin when you bought your iPhone. Far more than $79/yr over several years! You’ve done more than your fair share as have the rest of us who don’t pay for any Apps or Services.

  4. Purchasing apps, music movies (or renting movies) is fine but I do not foresee me using any ongoing subscription models from Apple for news, music, or apps. Furthermore Apple actively encouraging developers to use the subscription model is where I see Apple’s greed the most. I honestly see this as Apple working against its users. Others who are in favor of subscription models will disagree.

      1. So you don’t think developers should be paid for their work and constant updates? You always have the choice of which apps to use. Don’t want to pay for an in-app purchase and there’s no free alternative? You are free to create your own app, you know.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.