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 months 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 months 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 months ago
I think my kids are responsible for a lot of that
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
I7guy Avatar
17 months 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 months 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 months 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

tim cook mark zuckerberg

Apple's Privacy Measures to Cost Facebook $10 Billion in 2022

Thursday February 3, 2022 12:30 am PST by
Facebook has said measures being taken by Apple on iOS that make it harder for platforms and apps to track users across other apps and websites will cost its business $10 billion in 2022. Facebook yesterday reported $33.67 billion in revenue, and while higher than expected, earnings per share were shy of analyst expectations. Facebook, renamed to Meta, also offered lower guidance for the...
peloton logo

Peloton Says Apple's Privacy Rules Limit Its Ability to Gain Subscribers

Friday November 5, 2021 3:57 am PDT by
Peloton has become the latest company to blame Apple's ad-related privacy changes in iOS for negatively impacting its business, according to a new report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Best known for its at-home exercise equipment and online fitness classes, Peloton blamed the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) rules Apple introduced in iOS 14.5 for making it more difficult to add new...
apple logo cash feature

Apple Briefly Becomes World's First $3 Trillion Company

Monday January 3, 2022 10:44 am PST by
Apple briefly became the world's first $3 trillion company today based on market capitalization, which is the total value of all of the company's outstanding shares. The milestone came after Apple's stock price rose over 40% in the last year. The impressive feat, which Apple achieved when its stock price reached the $182.86 mark during intraday trading, came just over 16 months after Apple be...
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...
iphone 13 and iphone 13 pro max

iPhone 13 Lineup Led Global Smartphone Revenues to Record High in 2021

Friday February 25, 2022 6:41 am PST by
Apple's iPhone 13 lineup led global smartphone revenues to a new high of $448 billion in 2021, Counterpoint reports. Smartphone revenues grew seven percent year-on-year and 12 percent quarter-on-quarter in the fourth quarter of 2021, despite difficulties caused by component shortages. Apple's iPhone revenue is believed to have increased 35 percent year-on-year to $196 billion in 2021, its...
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...
european parliament

EU Provisionally Agrees on Law That Would Force Apple to Allow Alternative App Stores, Sideloading, and iMessage Interoperability

Friday March 25, 2022 4:46 am PDT by
European lawmakers have provisionally agreed upon a new law that would force Apple to allow user access to third-party app stores and permit the sideloading of apps on iPhones and iPads, among other sweeping changes designed to make the digital sector fairer and more competitive. The European Council and European Parliament said on Friday they had reached a political agreement on the...
apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Highlights Services in 2021, Recaps Upcoming Features Like IDs on iPhone

Monday January 10, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today highlighted the continued growth and expansion of its services in 2021, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Maps, Apple Pay, Apple News, Apple Podcasts, Apple Fitness+, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and more. "Apple's world-class portfolio of services proved essential in 2021, as people worldwide sought new ways to keep entertained, informed, connected, and inspired," said...

Popular Stories

USB C Over Lightning Feature

EU Passes Law to Switch iPhone to USB-C by End of 2024

Tuesday October 4, 2022 3:30 am PDT by
The European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024. The proposal, known as a directive, forces all consumer electronics manufacturers who sell their products in Europe to ensure that a wide range of devices feature a USB-C port. This...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

10 New iOS 16 Features Coming Later This Year

Monday October 3, 2022 2:41 pm PDT by
iOS 16 was released to the public three weeks ago with a customizable Lock Screen, the ability to edit iMessages, improvements to Focus modes, and much more. And in the coming months, iPhone and iPad users have even more new features to look forward to. We've rounded up 10 new features coming to the iPhone and iPad later this year, according to Apple. Many of the features are part of iOS...
ipad pro m1 feature

Gurman: Apple Event This October Remains Unlikely, No Touch ID for iPhone 15

Sunday October 2, 2022 6:41 am PDT by
Apple is developing new iPad Pro, Mac, and Apple TV models, and at least some of these products will be released in October, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. However, Gurman continues to believe that Apple is unlikely to hold an event this month. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said "the big iPhone 14 unveiling last month was probably it for Apple in 2022 in...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.0.3 With More Bug Fixes Following iPhone 14 Launch

Monday October 3, 2022 7:53 am PDT by
iOS 16.0.2 was released last month with several bug fixes for iPhone 14 issues, excessive copy and paste permission prompts, and more. Now, evidence suggests that Apple is planning to release iOS 16.0.3 with additional bug fixes. Evidence of an upcoming iOS 16.0.3 software update has shown up in MacRumors analytics logs, which have been a reliable indicator in the past. There are several...
Apple SIM Card

Apple SIM No Longer Available for Activating New Cellular Data Plans on iPads

Sunday October 2, 2022 8:04 am PDT by
As of October 1, Apple SIM is no longer available for activating new cellular data plans on supported iPad models, according to an Apple support document. Introduced in 2014, the Apple SIM was designed to allow iPad users to activate cellular data plans from multiple carriers around the world. Initially, the Apple SIM was a physical nano-SIM card, but it was embedded inside later iPad Pro...
maxresdefault

Video: AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort II

Monday October 3, 2022 12:50 pm PDT by
Apple on September 23 officially launched the second-generation version of the AirPods Pro, introducing updated Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, improved sound, and more. Right around the same time, Bose introduced new QuietComfort II earbuds with many similar features, so we thought we'd compare the two to see which has the edge. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for ...
General YouTube Feature 1

You May Soon Need to Be a YouTube Premium Subscriber to Watch 4K Videos

Monday October 3, 2022 4:29 am PDT by
YouTube may make watching videos in 4K quality on the platform exclusive to only YouTube Premium subscribers, according to screenshots posted by users on Twitter and Reddit. On Reddit (1,2) and Twitter, some users have started to recently notice that on iOS, and presumably across other platforms also, YouTube is now saying that in order to watch videos in 4K, the user must be a paying...
dynamic island alan dye

Apple Executives Talk About iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island in New Interview

Sunday October 2, 2022 10:48 am PDT by
In a new interview, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, and Apple's vice president of human interface design, Alan Dye, sat down to discuss the thinking behind the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island and how it was developed. During the interview with the Japanese magazine Axis, Federighi, who oversees the development of iOS, said Dynamic Island represents the...