App Store Spending Reached $72 Billion in 2020, Says Sensor Tower
Globally, consumer spending on the App Store reached $72.3 billion, up 30.3 percent Y/Y from $55.5 billion in 2019. As in previous years, this exceeded the amount users spent on Google Play, which grew 30 percent Y/Y from $29.7 billion in 2019 to $38.6 billion. The App Store generated 87.3 percent more in consumer spending than the Play store, and both platforms experienced roughly the same Y/Y growth. The spending gap between the platforms remained relatively flat compared to 2019.
Apart from games, most user spending in the App Store focused on the Entertainment category, which grew 29.3% year on year to $5.3 billion. TikTok was the non-game app that generated the most revenue globally in the App Store in 2020, growing more than 600% year on year to $1.2 billion.
First-time installs also set a new record in 2020, with the App Store and Google Play collectively reaching nearly 143 billion, up 23.7% from approximately 115.5 billion in 2019. This figure is about 14% higher than the year-on-year growth experienced by both stores in the previous year.
The gaming category also reached new heights, generating $79.5 billion last year across both app stores globally. The report notes that this is up 26% from slightly more than $63 billion in 2019, and represents 71.7% of all in-app spending for the year.
According to Sensor Tower data, around $47.6 billion was spent on iOS games in 2020, up 25% in 2019. Games accounted for 66% of all App Store revenue, and the highest grossing game on iOS was Tencent's Honor of Kings.
The report notes that the mobile market experienced "unprecedented growth" in 2020 as the global health crisis dramatically shifted consumer needs and behavior, and could even indicate a permanent change in consumer habits.