For a long time I have been frustrated at Apple tech reporting in its sometimes-US-centric view of the world of Apple. It’s not a universal problem and even where it does happen, it’s not all the time, but it does creep in often and when it does I can’t help but notice it.

Except on a few occasions I don’t feel like “telling anyone off” about it, but I do like to remind everyone that it’s a big old world out there and in the last day or so I’ve been collating some figures that can illustrate what I’m talking about.

I took Apple’s list of service availability in iTunes as a starting point for my figures. After combining the tables and then rationalising down to fewer categories (not distinguishing between movie purchase and rental, for example) I added each country’s population, as sourced from Wikipedia. I’m just casting rough figures here so I’m happy the accuracy will be good enough. Finally I added columns for Apple Pay and Apple Stores (brick and mortar).

With this basic data I have done percentage calculations using the total populations by country and by service. The total from which the per-country percentages are calculated is the sum of populations of the countries that Apple provides services to. (Apple lists an additional 35 countries to which it provides no services.) This does not take into account all sorts of factors like internet access, wealth etc, but as a rough guide to make my point, that’s what I’m going with.

Some key figures that I was looking for or were interesting to me:

  • Apple has services in 120 countries – by far the greatest penetration of any service provider. (Netflix, I was surprised to learn, is in 87 countries, although the Americas and Western Europe account for the vast majority of these.)
  • The US has just 5.5% of Apple’s potential customer base.
  • China represents 23.3% of the potential customer base – over three times Australia, Canada, US, and UK combined.
  • The are only 9 countries with more than 2% of the customer base: Brazil (3.5%), China, India (21.7%), Indonesia (4.3%), Japan (2.2%), Mexico (2.1%), Nigeria (3.1%), Russia (2.5%), and the US. They account for about 68% of the total.
  • The highest penetration of any service (by population) is movies at 93.9%.
  • The lowest penetration of any service is Apple Pay at 7.6%.
  • Excluding Apple Pay and Apple Stores (so just iTunes services) the lowest penetration is TV shows at 10.1% (just 6 countries, still!)
  • iBooks penetration is only 50.8%.
  • Despite being the oldest service and arguably the ‘most disrupted’, music is well behind movies at 76.7%.

If I can figure out a good way to present the whole table I will make another post, but for now, please consider that I’m not unusual in that:

I cannot go to an Apple Store, nor buy TV shows, nor pay for anything with Apple Pay and there are many, many people who have a longer list than that. And… the weather is getting warmer.

Banner image in public domain, by David Eccles.

Categories: Tech


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