Apple turned in another banner year in 2014 in terms of both hardware and software sales. But it wasn’t just the Cupertino-based company that was bringing home the bacon as App Store developers collectively raked in more than $10 billion in revenue last year.
To put that into perspective, developers earned more than Hollywood did from box office sales in the US during 2014.
Of course, US box office sales don’t paint the entire picture for Hollywood revenues just as App Store developer payouts don't fully illustrate the app economy.
As Horace Dediu from industry analytics firm Asymco points out, to get an accurate representation of the App Store economy, one must take into consideration other factors including “Android and ads and service businesses and custom development.” All things considered, apps are still likely to be bigger than Hollywood.
Looking at the overall picture, the app industry is also likely healthier than Hollywood. On an individual basis, some app developers earn more than Hollywood stars. What’s more, the app economy sustained more jobs (627,000 iOS jobs in the US versus 374,000 in Hollywood), is easier to enter and has a wider reach.
It gets worse for Hollywood when you look at the rate of growth of the App Store over the past several years. There doesn’t appear to be a slowdown in sight when you consider New Year's Day 2015 marked the single biggest day ever in App Store sales history. Furthermore, consumers spent nearly half a billion dollars on apps and in-app purchases during the first week of January.