Apple App Store E-Commerce Business Guide

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A business guide that covers the Apple App Store's e-commerce offering, market & consumer behavior, challenges and benefits, mechanics and metrics.

E-Commerce Offering

Businesses can offer Consumable and Non-Consumable In-App Purchases and Non-Renewable and Auto-Renewable Subscriptions through apps on the Apple App Store.

Apple takes a 15% - 30% fee per transaction but take no fee if you sell a digital or physical good or a service that is not related to their platform (i.e. an NFT, a guitar or an Uber ride).

Subscriptions must be implemented as part of a Subscription Group which allow you to create multiple subscription tiers within a group as a means of offering a tiered service where customers can upgrade or downgrade, depending on the level of service that they desire.

Non-Consumables and Auto-Renewable Subscriptions come with optional Family Sharing functionality, by which a Non-Consumable or Auto-Renewable Subscription is made available to an entire Apple Family, bringing value to more customers.

For explanations and examples of Apple's App Store Offering, please consult the articles listed below.

Consumable In-App Purchases

Non-Consumable In-App Purchases

Non-Renewing Subscriptions

Auto-Renewable Subscriptions

Apple's App Store Connect platform enables businesses the ability to create offer periods for In-App Purchases and Subscriptions, which could be useful during events and holidays such as Black Friday or Christmas; where customers can gain access to a Subscription or buy an In-App Purchase at a discounted price.

Apple has optimized Auto-Renewable Subscriptions to allow for enhanced acquisition and retention of customers as well as to win back customers by providing functionality for introductory offers, promotional offers and custom offer codes.

Introductory offers and custom offer codes can be paired to extend a customers access to a trial or discounted period, before paying full price for a subscription.

For explanations and examples of introductory offers, promotional offers or custom offer codes, please consult the articles listed below.

Introductory Offers

Promotional Offers

Custom Offer Codes (Coupons)

Grace Period and Billing Retry

In order to reduce involuntary subscriber churn, Apple's App Store includes a billing retry period of 60 days, by which Apple will periodically try to collect payment from a customer after a failed payment. Apple also offer businesses the ability to implement a grace period, to allow subscribers to maintain access to a service whilst they fix their payment issues.

Market & Consumer Behavior

257 billion new app downloads. $171 billion App Store spend. 5 hours daily time spent per user. $362 billion mobile ad spend. 5.1 trillion total hours spent.

The Apple App Store and Google Play Store generated 257 billion downloads and $171 billion in revenue in 2023.

92.7% of the Apple App Store apps are free, 7.3% are paid. 96.7% of the Google Play Store apps are free, 3.3% are paid.

92.7% of apps currently available on the Apple App Stores are free, demonstrating the power of a freemium business model.

In terms of revenue, paid apps made $42.98 billion, subscriptions $45.6 billion and in-app purchases $82.42 billion.

Direct downloads accounted for $42.98 billion; In-App Purchases for $82.42 billion and Subscriptions for $45.6 billion.

In terms of total consumer spending, Apple takes 66% valued at $112.86 billion compared to Google's 34% valued at $58.14 billion. In terms of subscription revenue, Apple takes 76% valued at $34.66 billion compared to Google's 24% valued at $10.94 billion.

In 2023, Apple's App Store was responsible for generating $147.52 billion in revenue; with $34.66 billion from Subscriptions alone.

Please consult our article on the global app market to get a deeper dive into consumer spending, market sizes and latest trends.

Use Cases, Challenges and Benefits

To learn about our research into popular use cases for In-App Purchases, Subscriptions or Offers, please consult the articles below.

To learn about the challenges and benefits of using In-App Purchases or Subscriptions, please consult the articles below.

Metrics & Analysis

Apple's App Store comes with an incredible powerful engine known as App Store Server API (ASSA), which includes App Store Server Notifications (ASSNs).

Although optional, we strongly recommended that you implement ASSA & ASSNs into your business, as it will allow you to:

  • Contribute to refund requests.
  • Provide best-in-class customer service.
  • Gather, manage and refund transactions.
  • Generate accurate e-commerce metrics that will inform you of how your app is performing.
  • Automate marketing communications when a customer makes a purchase; renews, upgrades or downgrades a subscription; claims a refund or any other e-commerce transaction event.

Finally, for a list of recommended e-commerce metrics. Please consult the article below.

Are you looking to build an app that uses In-App Purchases or Subscriptions?

Book a consultation or read our business guide for building an apps that use In-App Purchases or Subscriptions using the links below.

Any Questions?

We are actively looking for feedback on how to improve this resource. Please send us a note to with any thoughts or feedback you may have.
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