Since Apple Maps launched in 2012, that has been the big question. As with the rest of its business, Apple does not make it easy to figure out the answer.
But whether you realize it or not, your business likely benefits from appearing on Apple Maps, or perhaps it doesn’t benefit because you have ignored it?
I can’t tell you how many clients we have who are Android users and often forget Apple Maps even exists.
But it does exist and it drives a ton of visibility for local businesses, so let’s try to figure out how many people use it, shall we?
Last September, MomentFeed’s Eoghan Goeghegan estimated that 68 million adults in the U.S. were using Apple Maps at least once per month.
Last week, none other than Horace Dediu, one of the top Apple analysts, estimated at least 1 billion users around the world:
Six years ago Apple Maps was serving 5 Billion requests per week. (3x Google Maps on iOS.) I expect that to be double now and about 90% of iOS users using it or 900 million. Maps is also used on iPadOS and MacOS and WatchOS so I’d say 1 billion users total easily.
— Horace Dediu (@asymco) June 1, 2021
He neglected to mention usage of Apple Maps on Car Play, which is supported by over 80% of all new cars in the U.S, according to one survey, 23% of new car buyer respondents said Car Play was a “must have”. This year so far there have been approximately 4M new cars sold to date. Using the survey data implies a minimum of over 700,000 new vehicle owners using Car Play thus far this year.
So it’s a big number.
We can update Eoghan’s math to take a shot at figuring out how many adults in the U.S. are using Apple Maps:
First we need to figure out how many adults in the U.S. are iPhone users:
- The recent census puts the estimated U.S. population at 332 million people
- The most recent data shows adults make up 77% of the population, so there are about 256 million adults
- A Pew Research Center survey showed 85% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, so about 217 million people.
- Comscore reports that as of January 2021, 52.4% of U.S. smartphone users owned an Apple device. That comes to about 114 million iPhone users.
Now let’s do some estimating backflips to try and come up with our total Apple Maps users estimate:
- In 2018, Waze stated it had 30 million users in the US. If they stopped growing back then, using the above iPhone penetration estimates, that would mean there were about 15 million U.S. Waze users on iPhones. My guess is Waze users are much more likely to be on Android, but Waze also likely grew its user base significantly since then, including iPhone users, so let’s stick with the 15 million number. This is a blog post after all 🙂
- Let’s add another 5 million iPhone users using other mapping applications such as Here, and Mapquest, just to be generous. If we assume all adult iPhone users use a mapping app, that leaves 94 million users to be divvied up between Apple Maps & Google Maps.
- In 2015, Apple announced that iPhone users use Apple Maps 3x more than Google Maps. Given how much Apple Maps has improved since then, combined with the number of teen iPhone users who became adults over that time, my guess is Apple Maps is now used well over 3x more than Google Maps. But to be conservative, let’s stick with 3x. That would mean that there are at least 71 million adult Apple Maps users in the U.S.
Now of course this is just math based on what is likely suspicious data, but I think it’s safe to say that 71 million is the floor. If we assume Apple Maps has grown to 4x the use of Google Maps, then we are closing in on 75 million. And this doesn’t include kids such as my 17 year old new driver who uses Apple Maps exclusively. And my guess is there are plenty of Google Maps users on the iPhone who accidentally use Apple Maps at least some of the time. So I wouldn’t be surprised if penetration was north of the 90% Horace Dediu estimated.
So how many adult users of Apple Maps are there in the U.S.? Only Apple knows for sure, but I think we are safe at pegging it the number of Apple Maps users in the U.S. at somewhere between 75 – 100 million adults.
So maybe you might want to make sure that your business info on Apple Maps is correct?
Last week, MomentFeed hosted a discussion between Eoghan and myself on what’s been going on with Apple Maps lately. You can watch it at https://join.momentfeed.com/apple-maps-webinar.