Welcome to another edition of the Apple Maven’s earnings preview series – we started the countdown a week ago. Today, armed with recent news of the App Store’s third quarter numbers released by Sensor Tower, we turn the focus of attention to Apple’s application platform.

A look at last quarter’s numbers

Before talking about fiscal fourth quarter, it may help to look at how Apple’s services did last quarter – the App Store is likely the largest slice of the services pie, at what I estimated to be one-third of the total. The graph below shows revenue growth by major segment.

In contrast with the always important iPhone category (about half of the company’s total business), services stayed on the side of the beneficiaries of a stay-at-home economy. Revenues grew at a respectable 15% pace, although the figure represented slight growth deceleration compared to the previous few quarters.

New data suggests strength

The better news is that the third calendar quarter (i.e. Apple’s fourth fiscal period) may have been even better. According to Sensor Tower, “consumer spending on in-app purchases, subscriptions, and premium apps climbed by 31% to $19 billion globally on Apple’s App Store”. Keep in mind that Apple often keeps a cut of these sales at a rate that ranges from 15% to 30% – I wrote about the business model in more detail a few months ago.

To be fair, this 31% increase in spending does not necessarily mean that App Store revenues to Apple will increase at the same pace. But it is an encouraging number, nonetheless.

The Apple Maven’s expectations

Given how disruptive COVID-19 has remained through fiscal fourth quarter, I believe that the App Store will, once again, benefit from the stay-at-home economy. Work, study, and entertainment habits have shifted from the office and in-person activities to the mobile platforms. This is good news for Apple.

For this reason, I expect Apple’s App Store to have had a great quarter once again, which should help to lift the company’s service revenues in the most recent period.

Read more from the Apple Maven:

Apple Card: An Overlooked Opportunity

Previewing Apple’s Week: All About The iPhone 12

Apple Stock This Week: One Step Forward, One Step Back

(Disclaimers: the author may be long one or more stocks mentioned in this report. Also, the article may contain affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence editorial content. Thanks for supporting The Apple Maven)