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Apple App Store downloads drop for first time in years, but revenue still soars

iPhone users are downloading fewer apps from the App Store -- but still spending a ton.

Published onApril 4, 2019

An image of the Apple App Store as seen on an iPhone 8 Plus in 2018.

Apple has an earnings call scheduled for the end of April, but Morgan Stanley already has some numbers to divulge related to the Apple App Store (as reported by Kif Leswing on Twitter).

According to Morgan Stanley, the Apple App Store saw 5 percent fewer app and game downloads in the first quarter of 2019 as it did during the same time period in 2018. That’s the first time that Apple has seen a drop in download rates since 2015.

However, it’s not all bad news for Apple. During the same time period as it saw that 5 percent drop in downloads, it also saw a whopping 15 percent growth in revenue, estimated to be at about $3.7 billion (via 9to5Mac).

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iPhone XS Max in man's hand against a white backdrop.

In other words, according to this report, iOS users are downloading fewer apps but spending more money on the apps they do download.

As one would expect, the majority of app revenue comes from games with microtransactions and/or in-game purchases. Allegedly, China is a big part of those game sales, too.

Historically, the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store trend in the same directions, although the Play Store makes about half as much revenue as the App Store and sees about twice as many downloads. Therefore, it is possible that we’ll hear about a slight decline in download rates for the Play Store at some point in the near future.

It should be noted that these numbers come from a third party, not Apple directly. It’s possible Apple could deliver different results during its earnings call on April 30.

NEXT: Apple Arcade: Is it bad news for Android?

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