Apple says a record $540 million was spent on apps this New Year's Day

When you're stuck at home, you might as well buy some games.

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Jon Fingas
January 6th, 2021
Apple iPhone 12 home screen
Chris Velazco/Engadget

If you thought Apple device owners would splurge on apps during a holiday season when they were stuck at home... you guessed correctly. Apple has revealed that the App Store broke a single-day spending record on New Year’s Day, with people spending over $540 million. There was a healthy run-up, too, with people spending $1.8 billion between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Most of the holiday week spending was on games, Apple said, although it included other digital “goods and services.” Notably, this is despite Apple booting Fortnite out of the store — the company couldn’t rely on those in-app purchases to bolster its bottom line.

There’s not much mystery involved behind the surge. When people can’t meet each other and shipping is fraught with delays, App Store credit is an easy way to keep people happy. And if you can’t go to the movies or restaurants, you can always treat yourself to a game or streaming movie marathon.

The record spending is important for Apple, at least. The company is relying more and more on services to offset the ups and downs of hardware sales. A surge in App Store purchases suggests that strategy is paying off, even if some services are faring better than others.

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