Consumers are spending more in apps but installs are down in H1 2021

Anne Freer | July 1, 2021

App Business

Consumers spent a whopping $64.9 billion in app stores by Google and Apple during the first half of the years, according to the latest data from Sensor Tower.

That’s almost a quarter more than they spent in 2020 at $52 billion.

However, growth in 2020 was still higher at a spending boost of 28.4% compared to the first half of 2019 ($40.5 billion).

The Apple App Store is projected to generate $41.5 billion in consumer spending worldwide via in-app purchases, subscriptions and premium apps during the first half of 2021.

Google Play generated an estimated $23.4 billion during the same period, but it’s projected that the Google store will grow more strongly during 2021 than Apple.

Revenues on Google Play grew 30% from $18 billion in H1 2020, which is 4 percentage points higher than the same period in 2019. Its growth is driven by markets such as the Philippines.

The report finds that downloads jumped 72.5 billion during the first half of the year, driven by COVID-19 lockdowns and consumers looking for new experiences online and on mobile devices.

On the App Store, installs fell 10.9% to 16.3 billion from 18.3 billion in H1 2020.

Installs on Google Play climbed 6% to 56.2 billion from 53 billion the previous year. It highlights that dominance of Android in markets where the pandemic is still causing disruption while the US (a dominant market for Apple) is beginning to open up again.

Top apps – spending and downloads

TikTok continues to lead the charts for top-grossing mobile apps on both stores.

It’s estimated that consumers spent some $920 million on the short-form video app during H1 2021, up 74% over 2020.

YouTube came second at a sending of $564.7 million and in front of Tinder which saw revenues his $520.3 million.

App downloads were also led by TikTok at 384.6 million, followed by Facebook and Instagram.

Consumers spent $44.7 million – or 17.9% more – in mobile games during H1 2021 than the previous year.

Honor of Kings, PUBG Mobile and Genshin Impact were the top-grossing games across both stores.

But for the first time since the pandemic, game adoption has fallen 1.4% to 28.1 billion worldwide. This decline has always been somewhat anticipated, given that lockdowns led to a huge number of people trying out mobile games to stay entertained. Now that markets are opening up again, it was always expected that game adoption would decline somewhat.

Other app categories and outlook

Interestingly, book app revenue reached $1 billion for the first time with spending up 58% in 2021 compared to 2020.

Sports apps climbed 65% to $491 million and weather apps saw the steepest rise at 80% to 382.3 million downloads.

The report also shows that subscription apps generated 85% more in spending than in 2020; some $8.3 billion globally went to the top 100 non-game apps.

Although consumer spending was up, the report highlights that installs were down for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

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