- Apple’s App Store has seen considerable growth as a result of shelter-in-place orders around the world — so much so that it’s caught analysts by surprise.
- Based on research data, Morgan Stanley said App Store sales grew 39% year over year in May, making for the biggest year-over-year increase for the app marketplace since April 2017.
- In fact, the revenue for the quarter to date has outperformed Morgan Stanley’s predictions by almost double.
- It’s another nice uptick in service revenue for Apple, which is seeing a slump in iPhone sales.
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As the coronavirus weakens demand for Apple’s iPhones, the company is seeing its most significant boost in App Store sales of recent years, according to a research note posted by Morgan Stanley.
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said that based on data from Sensor Tower, App Store sales grew 39% year over year in May, which marks the biggest year-over-year increase for the app marketplace since April 2017.
The investment firm thinks this tailwind to the app economy has been caused by sheltering in place around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, in the quarter to date through May, Huberty said App Store revenue was up 35% year over year, outperforming Morgan Stanley’s June quarter forecast of 18% growth.
The firm previously predicted that App Store growth would peak in April. “However, high levels of engagement have sustained as the ‘new normal’ (at least in the near-to-medium-term) includes more time spent indoors,” Huberty wrote.
Morgan Stanley has now raised its June quarter-growth estimate to 32% year over year and increased its price target on Apple’s stock to $340 from $326.
This App Store boost is good news for Apple, which is seeing its services and wearables bets pay off as iPhone revenue slumps.
In its fiscal second-quarter earnings, the Cupertino, California-headquartered company reported that iPhone revenue fell 7% compared with the year-ago quarter, but those losses were bolstered by services such as Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, and wearables like the Apple Watch.
Morgan Stanley said App Store spend in May was strong across regions and app categories, with all but one of the largest App Store countries seeing an acceleration in net revenue in May relative to April.
Interestingly, Huberty also said App Store net revenue in China continues to accelerate even as the country has eased its lockdown restrictions and download growth has decelerated, “which tells us that the loosening of lockdown measures doesn’t necessarily drive a slowdown in App Store spend.”
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