According to the latest data from Sensor Tower, an app store intelligence company, US consumers spent an average of US$138 on iPhone apps last year, an increase of 38% year-on-year, which was largely driven by the impact of the pandemic. Throughout 2020, consumers turned to iPhone apps for work, school, entertainment, shopping and other apps, setting a new record for spending per user and setting the largest annual growth since 2016, when the app’s year-on-year growth reached 42 %.
Sensor Tower told TechCrunch that by 2021, the trend of consumer spending growth will continue. By then, consumer spending per active iPhone in the United States will reach an average of $180. This, in turn, will be at least partly related to the growth caused by the pandemic, especially the increase in mobile gaming spending driven by the pandemic.
Last year, the increase in U.S. spending on iPhone apps reflected a global trend. Consumers spent a record $111 billion on iOS and Android apps on each Sensor Tower, reaching a record high on each App Annie. 143 billion US dollars, its analysis also includes some third-party Android application stores in China.
In terms of the focus of US iPhone consumer spending in 2020, the largest category is certainly games.
In the United States, spending on mobile games per device increased by 43% year-on-year, from US$53.80 in 2019 to US$76.80 in 2020. This is 20 percentage points higher than the growth of in-game spending from 22% to 22% from 2018 to 2019. $44 to $53.80.
American users spend the most money on puzzle games (such as “Candy Crush Saga” and “Gardenscapes”), which may help free people from the pandemic and its associated pressures. The average price of an active iPhone in this category is US$15.50, followed by casino games with an average price of US$13.10, which is caused by the closure of physical casinos. Spending on strategy games has also surged in 2020, with spending per iPhone user increasing to an average of $12.30.
Another big category of in-app spending is entertainment. With the closure of theaters and concerts, consumers began to use streaming media applications heavily. Disney+ was launched at the end of 2019, only a few months before the pandemic confinement operation, and HBO Max was launched in May 2020.
The average expenditure per device in this category was the second highest, at $10.20, an increase of 26% from $8.10 in 2019. In contrast, between 2018 and 2019, spending per device only increased by 1%.
Other categories in the top five by equipment spending include photos and videos (up 56% to $9.80), social networking (up 41% to $7.90) and lifestyle (up 14% to $6.50).
These increases are related to applications such as TikTok, YouTube and Twitch. Especially on Twitch, the revenue of the US iPhone in 2020 has increased by 680% year-on-year. At the same time, TikTok has grown by 140%. In the “lifestyle” category, dating apps are driving growth because consumers actually want to connect with others during lock-in, while bars and clubs are closed.
Overall, what makes 2020 unique is not necessarily which apps people are using, but how often and how much they spend.
App Annie pointed out earlier that the epidemic has increased mobile phone adoption by two to three years. Today, Sensor Tower tells us that last year’s industry spending on certain types of applications (especially games) did not have the same “seasonality”, although before the pandemic, this year was usually slower. This is not the case in 2020, when it is a good time to spend time buying apps.