Consumer spending on apps tops $22B, app stores record most lucrative quarter: App Annie

While emerging markets are driving growth on Google Play, mature markets - save China - rule the roost on iOS.

Internet consumers are paying for apps more than ever before.

In the first quarter of 2019, global consumer spending on iOS and Google Play surpassed $22 billion — the most lucrative quarter ever. This is a 20 percent growth over last year, according to app analytics provider App Annie.

Not only that, overall app downloads, too, hit a record high of 30 billion during this quarter, up by 10 percent year-on-year.

Individually, too, both app stores recorded their best quarter. Spends on iOS increased by 20 percent to cross $14 billion, while that on Google Play neared $8 billion, a 25 percent growth.

'Entertainment' and 'Games' continued to be the largest contributing categories to app store revenues.

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App Annie estimates that in 2019, one in every 10 minutes of content consumed would be on video-streaming apps.

Mobile gaming, on the other hand, is set to account for 60 percent of app spends this year. In 2018, this category saw 20 percent more spends than all other gaming platforms — PC/Mac, handheld and home consoles — combined.

Generally, consumers are now moving away from utility-based apps that drove the initial years of consumption to content services.

Image: App Annie

Paul Barnes, MD EMEA of App Annie, explained,

"When we look at the key shifts in app store trends over the last quarter, it’s clear that we’ve reached the era of services and content, and moved far away from utility-based apps leading the market. A clear example is Apple’s strategic move into subscription industries. 'Rent-it-now' is the new 'have-it-now' generation driving a $122 billion app economy."

Google Play versus iOS

India, Indonesia, and Brazil led the growth in app downloads on Google Play - a trend outlined in previous quarters as well. Egypt and Pakistan also saw "meaningful year-over-year growth" in market share.

iOS growth, however, was driven by mature markets like the US, Japan, South Korea and Germany. The only exception remained Brazil, which also emerged as the largest contributor to iOS downloads in Q1 2019.

Meanwhile, China saw a softening of iOS downloads in Q1 2019 largely due to game licensing freezes.

In terms of categories, 'Auto & Vehicles' saw "exceptionally strong growth" on Google Play. App Annie said this was fuelled largely by car-related games, which led to an increase in the overall visibility and discoverability of auto apps.

On iOS, 'Food & Drink' category witnessed the highest year-on-year growth. "This is an indication of another industry being completely transformed by mobile," App Annie stated. The top three food delivery apps were UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub.

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