Thanks to Apple’s official response to Spotify’s complaint to the European Commission, we know that around 680,000 of the latter company’s subscribers are paying their monthly fees through the iOS in-app purchases system. But what about the wider apps economy? Analytics firm SensorTower has put out its latest figures on how that’s growing, and which apps are benefitting from that growth.

The headline stats: “The world’s App Store and Google Play users generated a combined $39.7 billion in spending on mobile apps and games during the first half of 2019,” reported SensorTower, which crunches data from both stores to reach its figures. “This was 15.4 percent more than the $34.4 billion consumers spent across both stores in the first half of 2018.”

Of that $39.7bn, SensorTower reckons that $25.5bn was spent on Apple’s App Store and $14.2bn on Google Play. This, despite the number of ‘first-time app installs’ (i.e. not including updates) being 56.7bn, with the App Store accounting for 14.8bn and Google Play 41.9bn. To make that clear, when you combine these two app stores, Apple accounted for just over 64% of apps revenues, but only 26% of apps installs. “Apple’s platform continued to generate nearly 1.8 times more revenue than Google’s on only about a third as many installs,” as the report puts it.

Mobile games accounted for $29.6bn of spending across both stores in the first half of this year according to SensorTower. That’s nearly 75% of the total. The top-grossing mobile game may not be familiar to many Music Ally readers in the west, but the company behind it should be: Tencent’s ‘Honor of Kings’ generated $728m of spending in the first half of this year according to the study – and that’s just on the two big official stores, since SensorTower’s stats don’t include independent Android app stores in China.

As for app-downloads rankings, WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook were the three most-downloaded apps globally in the first half of this year, with TikTok ranking fourth and Instagram fifth. SensorTower estimates that TikTok had nearly 344m first-time installs in this period “despite a two-week ban in its largest market [India] during Q2”.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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