906 app publishers worldwide are projected to earn their first $1 million or more in annual net income across Google Play and the App Store, up around 91% over 2016’s total of 475, per Sensor Tower data.
The number of iOS publishers surpassing this milestone alone is expected to reach 581, an increase of 87% from 310 in 2016, while Google Play’s first-ever million-dollar publishers are projected to increase from 165 in 2016 to 325 this year.
The gap between the App Store and Google Play in the number of publishers earning the first $1 million in 2021 is also a reflection of consumer spending. Consumer spending worldwide on the App Store is expected to reach $85.1 billion in 2021, an increase of 17.7% year-over-year from $72.3 billion in 2020. On Google Play, on the other hand, it is projected to reach $47.9 billion at the end of this year, up 23.5% from $38.8 billion in 2020.
Although there is a remarkable growth compared to 2016, it is seen that there is a decrease in the number of publishers exceeding the first $1 million in 2021 when compared to 2020, likely the result of consumer behavior that continues to normalize after a big year for new app downloads in 2020.
As expected, mobile games account for the largest share of first-time million-dollar earners on the App Store, with 185 mobile game publishers exceeding the mark in 2021, representing around 32% of the platform’s total new million-dollar-plus earners. In Google Play, 39 publishers are forecasted to surpass that milestone, or about 43 percent of all publishers to do so for the first time.
The United States is projected to reflect worldwide trends, with million-dollar new publishers falling to 408, down nearly 9% year-over-year from 446 in 2020. Apple’s US App Store is expected to produce 274 publishers that hit or exceed the target, down 10% year-over-year, while US Google Play is estimated to produce 134, down 6% year-over-year.
The gap between the App Store and Google Play in the U.S. is also shrinking, but Apple’s platform still maintains a healthy lead, generating twice as many new net $1 million earners each year, the data says.