NEW YORK: Apple Inc’s news service has reached 100 million monthly active users and customers spent more than US$1.4 bil (RM5.74 bil) in the App Store between Christmas and New Year, the latest signs of growing revenue from the iPhone maker’s services business.

With demand for smart phones and other hardware peaking, Apple has been striving to boost sales from purchases of apps and subscription services like its newly launched Apple TV+ streaming service or Apple Care maintenance packages.

The company said that between Dec 24, 2019, and Jan 1, 2020, its customers spent US$1.42 bil in the App Store, a 16% increase over the previous year, and US$386 mil on Jan 1 alone, a 20% increase.

The number of users of the News app rose nearly 18% from a year ago, although the company did not break out subscriber numbers for the Apple News+ service, which costs US$9.99 a month.

The numbers also point to a big shift in spending in the Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday season in the US, with consumers splurging on apps and online shopping rather than in brick-and-mortar stores.

Mastercard Inc’s data tracking retail sales from Nov 1 through Christmas Eve showed that US shoppers spent almost a fifth more online during this year’s holiday shopping season than a year ago, accounting for 15% of all retail sales.

The App Store growth numbers were roughly in line with the overall trend for Apple’s services segment revenue, which rose 16% to US$46.3 bil in its most recent fiscal year ended in September. In comparison, iPhone sales fell 14% to US$142.4 bil in the same period.

Apple keeps between 15% and 30% of the sales through its App Store, depending on whether users buy software as a one-time purchase or recurring subscription.

The company launched several new services in 2019, including the streaming service, a video game service and a credit card.

Shares of the company were marginally down in early trading on Wednesday. – Jan 8, 2020 Reuters

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