New research from the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) finds Apple’s iOS app economy supports more than 45,000 jobs in Michigan, and those employees contribute to the development of apps helping friends and neighbors more efficiently work, shop, communicate with loved ones, and further their businesses in a digital world.
The app economy in the state includes offerings like Plain Sight, a social networking platform backed by $1 million in pre-seed funding from investors founded by Detroit native James Chapman. The app, launched two years ago, connects like-minded people both online and at physical spaces.
It also serves as a resource for entrepreneurs via its small business vertical that helped other Black entrepreneurs and small business owners thrive during the pandemic by directly connecting them with potential patrons to promote their virtual and safe in-person spaces.
The research from the PPI, along with an independent analysis conducted by economists from Analysis Group on behalf of Apple called “Spotlight on Small Business and App Creators on the App Store,” also showed earnings for all developers increased, but earning for smaller developers rose 113 percent in 2019 over the previous two years.
In the U.S., smaller developers — defined as those earning up to $1 million a year and with fewer than 1 million annual downloads — saw an above-average increase of 118 percent in earnings since 2019.
In 2021, thousands of small business and new app creators joined the App Store from around the world. Of this set of new developers, approximately 24 percent came from Europe, 23 percent from China, 14 percent from the U.S., 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 U.K., the number of small developers new to the App Store grew by almost 40 percent since 2019, and, in Germany, it grew by more than 25 percent.
The research also finds the App Store has helped entrepreneurs start new apps and rapidly scale their businesses. To analyze 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.