Sensor Tower: iOS Users Spent $41.5 Billion on Apps in First Half of 2021, Up 22% Year-on-Year

A new Sensor Tower report claims Apple's App Store generated $41.5 billion revenue globally in the first half of 2021, representing 22.1% growth compared to the same period last year.

1h 2021 app revenue worldwide sensor tower
The app market research firm says consumer spending on in-app purchases, subscriptions, premium apps and games in the ‌App Store‌ was 1.8 times the revenue generated by Google's Play Store, which generated $23.4 billion over the same period.

Despite ‌App Store‌ spending, however, Google Play is projected to enjoy stronger year-on-year growth overall because of activity in markets still feeling the impact of the global health crisis.

In the first half of 2021, the ‌App Store‌ has grown 22.1 percent from about $34 billion in the H1 2020, a little more than seven percentage points lower than the 29.3 percent growth experienced during 1H20 due to accelerated spending during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Google Play's revenue in H1 2021 has grown 30 percent from $18 billion in 1H20, over four percentage points higher than the 26.8 percent growth experienced last year when compared to the same period in 2019. The outsized Y/Y revenue growth on Google's marketplace is being driven by markets such as the Philippines, where COVID-19 has resulted in continuing business closures and quarantines.

TikTok maintained its dominance in the top grossing mobile apps worldwide for the first half of 2021. Consumers are believed to have spent more than $920 million on TikTok in the period, up 74% when compared to the year-ago period.

Meanwhile, YouTube held onto its spot as the second highest-grossing non-game app, with an estimated consumer spend of $564.7 million. Tinder ranked third with an estimated revenue of approximately $520.3 million, while Japanese comic reader Piccoma and Disney's streaming platform Disney+ sat in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

1h 2021 top app revenue chart
An estimated 72.5 billion app downloads took place globally across both stores in 1H21, up 1.7% from 71.3 billion during the year-ago period. That figure pales in comparison to the 25.7% year-on-year growth experienced by app adoption last year when compared to the first half of 2019.

Global app spending reached almost $65 billion across iOS and Android in the same period, with the vast majority of money spent on games, which accounted for approximately $26 billion of the estimated $41.5 billion generated by Apple.

Apple is facing several threats to its highly lucrative ‌App Store‌ model, which has come in for criticism from some developers and antitrust bodies for its commission rate policy and alleged anticompetitive practices, including the pre-installation of Apple's apps on its own devices.

U.S. House lawmakers this month debuted sweeping bipartisan antitrust legislation in the form of six different bills aimed at major tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The legislation targets the companies' market power in the areas of online commerce, advertising, media, and entertainment. One piece of legislation in particular, the non-discrimination bill, would prevent Apple from blocking users from deleting pre-installed apps.

Top Rated Comments

jlc1978 Avatar
17 weeks ago
It's pretty amazing how Apple and others have created marketplaces where developers can sell their products for almost no upfront costs beyond developing the app; and still keep 70% of the sales price. If the same model existed today as did in the 80's I'd bet 90% or more of the apps on the app store would not exist because developers could not afford the upfront costs of marketing, distribution, production, etc. for a hoped for enough sales to cover them and make a living off of their 30% cut of retail.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
17 weeks ago

And Apple stole about $3 billion of that thanks to their App Store monopoly. Change can't come soon enough
Apple charging 30% to a developer who agrees to the terms of service does not equate to Apple stealing money, at least not in this universe.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hortod1 Avatar
17 weeks ago
I think my kids are responsible for a lot of that
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
I7guy Avatar
17 weeks ago

It's pretty amazing how Apple and others have created marketplaces where developers can sell their products for almost no upfront costs beyond developing the app; and still keep 70% of the sales price. If the same model existed today as did in the 80's I'd bet 90% or more of the apps on the app store would not exist because developers could not afford the upfront costs of marketing, distribution, production, etc. for a hoped for enough sales to cover them and make a living off of their 30% cut of retail.
100%. "Back in the day" one had to bear the cost of printing, duplication, shipping etc. A major investment for a major risk. Here Apple has made it so the risk isn't in the financials...it's in the ability to succeed....which is the way it should be.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DelayedGratificationGene Avatar
17 weeks ago
Wondering why MacRumors didn’t pick up Apple filing for Epic judge to consider NCAA decision? Only Appleinsider highlighted. I’m no lawyer but from available commentary it seems like a pretty significant positive for Apple in the case. The media was literally all over the case reporting on what the judge had for lunch while happening so why not at least report this significant development now?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
I7guy Avatar
17 weeks ago

Considering Androids global marketshare. It shows the average Android user is a total cheapskate compared to the average iOS/iPad OS user.
QED...and thus the above is proved. I wonder how off Sensor Tower is because the article starts with: "A new report by Sensor Tower claims...."


And Apple stole about $3 billion of that thanks to their App Store monopoly. Change can't come soon enough
I wouldn't hold my breath if what you mean by soon enough far out into the future in spite of all of the churning. But to your point, you're right. Apple hired "hit men" to hold guns to peoples heads who had iphones forcing them to buy a paid app from the app store. /s
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

global app spending 2020

App Store Spending Reached $72 Billion in 2020, Says Sensor Tower

Tuesday January 5, 2021 3:57 am PST by
Apple device users spent a record $72 billion on the App Store in 2020, a 30% increase on app spending the previous year, according to a new Sensor Tower report. 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...
tiktok logo

TikTok Becomes First Non-Facebook App to Hit 3 Billion Downloads

Wednesday July 14, 2021 8:27 am PDT by
TikTok has become the first non-Facebook app to reach three billion downloads worldwide across iOS and Android, according to Sensor Tower. Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data reveals that the app, including its Chinese iOS version called Douyin, was the most downloaded and highest-grossing non-game app globally in the first half of 2021, reaching 383 million first-time installs and an...
Global 500 2021

Apple Leaps Up Fortune Global 500 Rankings

Monday August 2, 2021 7:04 am PDT by
Apple has leaped from third to first place for profit and from twelfth to sixth place for revenue in the Fortune Global 500 rankings of the world's biggest companies. After reaching a record high of $33.3 trillion in last year's rankings, total revenue for the world's biggest companies fell 4.8 percent to $31.7 trillion this year. Even so, the combined sales of all of the companies on the...
subscription app worldwide 2020 spending

Sensor Tower: iOS Users Spent $10.3 billion on Top 100 Subscription Apps in 2020, Up 32% Year-on-Year

Friday February 12, 2021 3:04 am PST by
Consumer spending on the top 100 non-game subscription-based apps across mobile platforms grew 34% year-on-year from $9.7 billion in 2019 to $13 billion in 2020, according to a new report by analytics firm Sensor Tower. According to the data, revenue from subscription apps purchased on the App Store and the Google Play Store represented around 11.7% of the $111 billion that consumers spent...
play store google

Google Lowers Play Store Subscription Fee From 30% to 15%

Thursday October 21, 2021 9:31 am PDT by
After lowering its Play Store commission from 30 percent to 15 percent in March, Google today announced that it is making the same change to subscription fees, an update applicable to all app developers, reports The Verge. At the current time, Google's subscription policy works like Apple's. Google collects 30 percent from a subscription during the first year, and then drops that to 15...
play store google

Google Criticizes EU Regulators for Ignoring Apple in Bid to Get $5.1 Billion Antitrust Fine Annulled

Monday September 27, 2021 1:32 pm PDT by
Google today lambasted European Union regulators for ignoring Apple and the rivalry between Apple and Android in the antitrust accusations that have been levied against Google, reports Reuters. Apple was brought up as part of Google's attempt to get a massive 4.34 billion euro ($5.1 billion) fine annulled. The European Commission first levied the fine against Google in 2018 because Google...
app store blue banner

App Store Sales Saw Unprecedented Growth in 2020, Grossing Over $64 Billion

Friday January 8, 2021 8:57 am PST by
Apple's App Store saw unprecedented growth in 2020, grossing more than $64 billion in sales, according to a report by CNBC. The figure is up from an estimated $50 billion in 2019 and $48.5 billion in 2018. This is a significant growth of 28 percent in 2020, compared to growth of just 3.1 percent in 2019. Apple does not disclose how much revenue its App Store makes every year, but it has ...
global christmas spending 2020

Study Finds More Than $100 Billion Spent on App Stores in 2020

Wednesday December 30, 2020 6:08 am PST by
A new report by Sensor Tower reveals that 2020 has been a record-setting year for worldwide spending on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, which collectively passed $100 billion in a single year for the first time ever in November. The trend of increased spending continued over Christmas, when consumers around the world spent an estimated $407.6 million across Apple's App Store and ...
app store vs developers

Apple's Planned App Store Changes Will Barely Affect the Company's Bottom Line, Says Analyst

Wednesday September 8, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
As a result of legal and regulatory pressures, Apple recently announced some upcoming changes to its App Store policies, such as letting developers email customers about payment options available outside of their iOS app and allowing "reader" apps like Spotify and Netflix to include an in-app link to their website for account signup. Apple said the changes "will help make the App Store an...
app store blue banner

Apple Says iOS is Safer Than Android Because Sideloading Apps Isn't Allowed

Wednesday October 13, 2021 5:00 am PDT by
In response to the European Commission's proposed Digital Markets Act, which could force sideloading of apps on the iPhone in Europe, Apple has shared an in-depth document highlighting the security and privacy risks of sideloading. Sideloading refers to installing apps outside of the App Store, such as from a website or a third-party app store. Apple's document, titled Building a Trusted...