Global Consumer Spending on Apps Tops $101 Billion in 2018

Jan 18, 2019
By: Marissa Camilli

Despite concerns over a slump in smartphone sales, mobile analytics company, App Annie, have revealed in their annual State of Mobile 2019 report, that app downloads increased in 2018 by 35 percent on the previous year to 194 billion. In even more positive news, consumer spending on apps increased by a staggering 75 percent to $101 billion.

Much of this increase can be attributed to the Chinese market which accounted for nearly 50 percent of global downloads and almost 40 percent of consumer spending.

While Chinese consumer spending increased by 140 percent on the previous year, growth in more mature markets including the United States (70 percent),  South Korea (80 percent) and the United Kingdom (55 percent) also saw incredible growth.

Exceeding Expectations

This incredible growth has taken the industry by surprise with earlier predictions suggesting downloads would reach levels around the 113 billion mark with revenues of $76 billion.

It’s also worth noting these figures were able to reach record levels despite a nine-month freeze in game license approvals in China which are legally required in the country for developers to monetize their apps.

Global App Usage

Although Chinese smartphone users top the list of prolific app downloaders and spenders, they trail behind many other nations in terms of the number of apps installed on their devices.

The average Chinese consumer’s smartphone has just over 50 apps installed (of which approximately 30 are used). This compares to more than 100 in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. These figures are largely attributed to the high number of low-cost Android devices with limited storage in use in the Chinese (and other emerging) markets.

Indian Growth – Focused on Free Android Apps

App usage is also dramatically on the increase across other emerging economies. While App Annie’s report focuses on both the Android and iOS app marketplaces, it clearly highlights Android’s dominance in huge markets like India.

Indian’s downloaded more Android apps from Google Play than smartphone users from any other nation. Free downloads currently dominate the Indian market, with social media, communications, entertainment and photography apps most popular.

While consumer spending on apps in the Indian market is low, the report highlights that the country is still transitioning through an “experimentation phase” and suggests that monetization will follow as “mobile habits begin to form and users settle into their go-to apps, engagement climbs, known as the Adoption phase.”

Highlighting the potential for increased consumer spending via apps in India, the country is currently seeing incredible growth in fast food (quick service restaurant) apps and food delivery services.

A Big Opportunity

While these figures demonstrate the long term health of the app industry, a huge market does not guarantee for app developers. As the demand for apps increases, so does the competition. This makes it increasingly difficult to position the right app in front of the right people at the right time. Failure to do this will result in less than optimized downloads and put additional pressure on your marketing budget.

Digital Turbine works with app developers to aid the discoverability of their apps across global markets. No matter what your app does and who your target audience is, we can help drive activations and engagement.

Talk to one of our pre-loading experts today to learn how you can maximize your opportunity in this rapidly growing global market. 

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
Read more by this author