In a statement released on Thursday, Apple revealed that total 2016 App Store revenue topped $20 billion—equal to about one-third of the total earnings the company has taken in through downloads since launching the virtual store back in 2008.
The record-shattering year for the App Store was immediately followed by the single-largest revenue day in history on New Year’s Day, in which $240 million was spent downloading apps & games on iOS, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac devices. Though post-holiday upticks in App Store downloads are expected each year, given the poor reception the new Macs have received, coupled with the downturn in sales of the Apple Watch, hitting over 1% of a record-setting year’s revenue in a day was obviously something Apple didn’t anticipate.
Fueling 2016 App Store revenue was the popularity of Niantic’s Pokémon GO, followed recently by Nintendo’s first foray into the mobile gaming space with Super Mario Run. Apple launched paid search ads late last year, similar to Universal App Campaigns on Google AdWords, to help developers showcase their apps & games, which may have also contributed to additional revenue gains in 2016. The store features 2.2 million apps total, according to Apple, which is a 20% increase from 2015.
Apple interestingly mentioned their growth in China over 2016, which increased 90% year-over-year. The company made headlines just this week here in the States for pulling the New York Times app from China’s version of the App Store, which is infamously censored by the government. The company’s iTunes Movies and iBooks stores received similar treatment shortly after they launched earlier last year.
As Re/code notes, Apple’s App Store boom in 2016 is one positive for the tech giant: “Services”, which the App Store is a part, is the only sector of Apple that experienced growth last quarter.