Apple reveals rise in UK app developer economy despite pandemic

·2 min read

App developers on Apple’s iOS platform saw an increase in jobs and earnings in the UK last year – despite the pandemic, according to new figures from the tech giant.

Apple said despite the economic challenges of the Covid-19 outbreak, apps on its App Store now support more than 330,000 jobs, up more than 10% over the last 12 months.

The company said many businesses moving online during lockdown had sparked some of the growth, which also saw earnings for app developers rise by 22% to £3.6 billion in 2020.

The trend has been repeated across Europe, with jobs within the app economy growing by 7% since 2019 and now sitting at around 1.7 million jobs.

But overall, the UK leads Europe in iOS app developers jobs, Apple said.

The tech giant highlighted the sharp increase in popularity of fitness apps and software aimed at children for both educational and entertainment purposes, as families looked to work, stay healthy and entertained while staying at home.

“In a year like no other, the UK has remained a vibrant and innovative hub for entrepreneurs and app developers,” App Store senior director, Christopher Moser said.

“More people in the UK than ever before are working as part of the iOS app ecosystem, creating innovative and exciting apps enjoyed by people all over the world.”

The figures come as scrutiny over the App Store continues in several regions around the world, including in the UK, where last week the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it had launched an investigation into Apple over complaints that its terms and conditions for app developers are unfair and anti-competitive.

Apple said it looked forward to working with the CMA, and defended the App Store, saying it “has been an engine of success for app developers, in part because of the rigorous standards we have in place – applied fairly and equally to all developers – to protect customers from malware and to prevent rampant data collection without their consent”.

The tech giant is currently also facing antitrust investigations by the European Commission related to the App Store and is the subject of legal complaints from Fortnite maker Epic Games in the US that Apple has abused its market position.