While Apple set a new record this year, the holiday app-related shopping spree seems to be in line with what we've seen before: last year, the company reported that it had made "half a billion" in revenue in the first week of January.
Overall, Apple said that customers spent $20 billion on App Store purchases in 2015. Most popular apps included games such as Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Trivia Crack and Heads Up!, as well as messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Snapchat. In terms of top-grossers, Apple also noted that gaming and subscription apps did the best this year, mentioning Clash of Clans, Monster Strike, Game of War - Fire Age and Fantasy Westward Journey as well as Netflix, Hulu and Match.
The firm was also quick to note that the App Store has made developers about $40 billion over the lifetime of the App Store, with roughly one-third of that figure -- about $13 billion -- coming from 2015 alone. Last year, the company said that it had generated $10 billion in revenue for developers in 2014.
The App Store has consistently been a selling point for Apple products and a growing area of revenue for the company. That's particularly important for Apple to highlight amid persistent fears that sales of the iPhone -- by far the largest source of the company's profits -- are going to slow down in 2016.
Many analysts have predicted that the smartphone market overall, while still drawing tens of billions in revenue, will see slower growth this year. In a presentation Tuesday, Consumer Technology Association market researcher Steve Koenig said that a number of factors, including a strong dollar and weak economies in parts of the world that had been driving new tech spending, indicate that 2016 will be a slower year for global tech spending overall. Several analysts have cautioned that Apple could see iPhone sales shrink for the first time ever in the coming year -- warnings seemingly boosted by reports that the company has cut back iPhone production.
The App Store not only provides Apple with a distinguishing selling point, but also helps to retain consumers and, in some cases, gets them to buy more devices within the Apple ecosystem. And Apple has been ambitious about growing this part of the business: the company recently launched a version of the App Store for the Apple TV, as part of its bid to take over the living room.
Correction: A previous version misstated the number of jobs the App Store had created and the start of the time period of the in-app purchases. The version has been corrected.