APAC now accounts for 64% of global mobile app downloads. But, will the growth sustain into 2021 and beyond?


Over the course of 2020 and into this year, app usage habits underwent drastic changes as people all around the world turned towards mobile for entertainment or daily tasks in response to COVID-19 related restrictions, notes the mobile measurement company, Adjust, in its latest report App Trends 2021: A Focus on APAC.

The report, which takes a deep dive into the state of Asia’s app economy, highlights that within the APAC region, it wasn’t just the number of sessions and installs that increased drastically but also the time users spent in-app, number of sessions they had per day, and length of the average session that grew exponentially. The region now accounts for 64 percent of global mobile app downloads, with sessions and installs increasing rapidly across app-verticals.

But the larger question that marketers and brands find themselves asking, is if these trends persisted into 2021. Deep-diving into mobile performance across the Asia Pacific region, drawing on data and industry insights, the report helps to answer this question.

Top three takeaways

One of the most important takeaways from Adjust’s Asia focussed app trends report is that the gains made over 2020 have continued into 2021.

  • Installs and sessions in APAC grew by 31 percent and 54 percent respectively from 2019 to 2020, and are continuing to grow in 2021, demonstrating that the industry is hanging onto users acquired during lockdown and continuing to bring new users in.
  • Almost all verticals grew in the countries analysed — with fintech and hyper casual gaming backing up their impressive lockdown spikes with sustained growth in 2021.
  • Retention rates were consistent throughout 2020 despite the impacts of the pandemic — in Q4, the day 30 average was 5.68 percent.

In spite of the overall sustained growth in the region, the report also points out that the installation growth for many markets has been slower in 2021. However, Singapore and Vietnam have been exceptions as they have posted highly impressive uptakes this year, growing up to 49 percent and 43 percent compared to 2 percent and 27 percent in 2020.

“The number of installs and sessions taking place within a particular vertical or region is an important indicator of how popular or in-demand certain types of apps are, particularly as mobile adoption continues to rise in the APAC region. But it’s the more granular data points that help businesses to understand what users expect and how you can optimise your in-app experience to better meet their needs,” says Shubham Jha, Sales Manager (India) at Adjust. That’s why the report focuses on everything from installs and sessions to reattributions, eCPI, paid and organic ratios and the number of partners that apps in these verticals are working with while putting a spotlight on fintech, e-commerce and gaming sectors.

The India market

“In India, as in other markets across the globe, the key change in behaviour was that mobile users have turned to their phones more often and for longer sessions. This has undoubtedly been fuelled by the pandemic but in regions where mobile penetration was still developing, lockdown regulations have super-charged that growth,” shares Shubham Jha, Sales Manager, India at Adjust. However, he says while it is yet to be established whether users will abandon their mobiles for entertainment, e-commerce and learning in the near-future remain to be seen, early signs suggest that once mobile is embraced, it’s here to stay.

Another key highlight with respect To the India market is that hypercasual gaming stands out as a clear winner in 2021, with installs growing by 61 percent already, on top of similar levels of growth last year. Fintech apps are still also registering impressive growth suggesting that there are interesting opportunities ahead for this vertical in India.

What 2021 looks like

The Adjust report indicates that growth in 2021 is continuing steadily and has almost levelled out with 2020’s Q1 peak. In fact, the second week of May 2021 was the highest performing week ever for sessions in APAC. “All this points to sustained growth as mobile continues to penetrate markets in APAC, which means app marketers have more possibilities than ever to find new audiences. However, if sessions do begin to drop off and the market contracts, only those apps with holistic marketing strategies that focus as much on retention as UA will come out on top,” says Shubham.

Download Mobile App Trends 2021: A focus on APAC and stay on top of mobile marketing developments and Asia-specific trends in user behavior. make the most of data-driven solutions and strategies for this high-growth region.


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