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Report: global app spending was $50bn in first half of 2020


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Could a global pandemic take the shine off the growth in the amount of money people spend on and within mobile apps? It could not.

“Consumers spent a combined total of $50.1 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2020,” claimed app analytics firm Sensor Tower. “This was 23.4 percent more than the $40.6 billion we estimate mobile users spent across both stores during the same period in 2019. Previously, revenue had increased 20 percent between the first half of 2018 and 2019.”

So growth is accelerating, even though it’s now 12 years since the launch of Apple and Google’s app stores. Note, Sensor Tower’s figures are about spending, not overall revenues – they don’t include advertising, nor do they include money spent outside those App Store payment systems (Spotify subscriptions, Uber ride fees, Deliveroo payments etc).

The figures break down between the two app stores in their usual proportions: Apple’s store generated more than 65% of the spending, but Google’s store accounted for more than 74% of the 71.5bn app installs in the first half of this year. Tinder, YouTube and TikTok were the top-grossing (again, through spending, not ads) apps with $433m, $431m and $421m respectively, while TikTok was the most-downloaded app with 626m installs.

The report also makes clear just how huge a business mobile gaming remains. Games generated $36.6bn of spending on the App Store and Google Play in the first half of this year, thus accounting for 73% of the total. The biggest game was PUBG Mobile, which Sensor Tower reckons generated $1.3bn in that six-month period alone.

Stuart Dredge

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