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Asymco breaks down the App Store numbers, finds iTunes economy is a $12 billion annual business


While corporations -- including Apple -- keep financial information locked away except for those items that require public disclosure, the job of Wall Street analysts like Horace Dediu of Asymco is to take bits of information scattered hither and yon and meld them into a more realistic model of how a company is performing. Dediu took App Store numbers released on January 7 by Apple, mixed it with existing info, and came to some fascinating conclusions:

  • The iTunes economy defined as gross revenues transacted through it is now about US$12 billion/yr.
  • Over the last five years content owners (media and app) received a total of $24 billion while Apple spent about $10 billion to create those sales
  • Seen as a retail business, iTunes costs about $3.5 billion/yr to operate. This includes merchandising, payment processing and "shipping & handling."
  • Total revenues have risen steadily in a range of 32 to 38 percent compounded over the last four years.
  • Apps are now a third of all iTunes revenues, (about $4 billion/yr) having taken that share in only 4.5 years.
  • Non-app media still make up two-thirds of iTunes in terms of sales value but their growth is now 28 percent vs. about 50 percent for apps.

Those results, taken directly from Dediu's post, show that sales of traditional media -- movies, TV, books and music -- are growing at about half the rate of apps. They also highlight that the sale of media and apps is a vibrant part of Apple's financial picture.

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