Worldwide consumer spending in mobile apps reached US$64.9 billion across the Apple App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2021, according to preliminary Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates and projections through June 30. This was 24.8% more than the $52 billion generated by both stores in the same period in 2020.
Although spending continued to climb to new heights, the year-over-year growth experienced by mobile markets so far this year trailed that experienced in 2020. Sensor Tower says that, in the first half of last year, the pandemic boosted consumer spending by 28.4% year-over-year. That compares to approximately $40.5 billion in the first half of 2019.
App Store and Google Play spending projections
Apple’s App Store is projected to generate $41.5 billion in consumer spending globally from in-app purchases, subscriptions, and premium apps and games in the first half of 2021. This is about 1.8 times the revenue generated by Google Play, which saw an estimated $23.4 billion in the same period.
However, Sensor Tower says Google’s marketplace is projected to experience more year-over-year growth than Apple’s. In the first half of 2021, the App Store has grown 22.1% from about $34 billion in the the first half of 2020. That’ a little more than 7 percentage points lower than the 29.3% growth experienced during the first half of 2020. Sensor Tower says this is due to accelerated spending during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
App installation growth is ‘slight’
After the surge in adoption last year driven by COVID-19’s impact on consumer behavior, app install growth was slight in the first half of 2021. Sensor Tower says there were an estimated 72.5 billion downloads globally across both stores in the first half of 2021. That’s up 1.7% from 71.3 billion during the year-ago period. This trails the 25.7% year-over-year growth experienced by app adoption last year when compared to the first half of 2019.
Apple’s App Store saw a year-over-year decline in installs in the first half of 2021. Installs dropped 10.9% to 16.3 billion from 18.3 billion in the first half of 2020. Sensor Tower says this indicates that there’s potentially more competition for consumer attention in markets with high concentrations of iOS users, such as the U.S. These markets have begun to reopen businesses and in-person spaces.