According to new data from Sensor Tower due to the COVID-19 epidemic, consumer spending on mobile apps and app installs increased significantly during the first half of 2020. In the first half of the year, consumers spent $ 50.1 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play – up 23.4% from the first half of 2019. Previously, revenue was up 20% between the first half of 2018 and 2019, for comparison. In addition, installing the app for the first time reached 26.1% year-on-year to 71.5 billion downloads in the first half of 2020.
Those downloads in Apple’s App Store amounted to 18.3 billion, up 22.8% year-on-year, while Google Play installed 53.2 billion new apps, up 27.3%.
Although Google Play installed more apps, Apple’s App Store continued to outperform its rival at consumer spending.
During the first half of the year, the App Store generated $ 32.8 billion from in-app purchases, subscription and premium apps and games, Sensor Tower estimates. This figure is 24.7% higher than the $ 26.3 billion spent during the first half of 2019. This is nearly double the estimated gross revenue on Google Play, which was $ 17.3 billion, a 21% year-over-year increase.
The effects of the epidemic are only reflected to some extent in the top-earning (non-game) apps of the first half of 2020. The biggest earner, for example, was Match’s online dating app Tinder – an app that anyone would think would have dropped out of the top 5 due to social disturbance requirements.
During the first half of the year, Tinder generated an estimated $ 433 million to spend jointly on both app stores. However, this number represents a decrease of about 19%, or $ 532 million, from the first half of 2019. It is unclear whether this decline is related to the changing behavior of consumers and spending habits during the epidemic. Although shelter-in-place orders and quarantine are on the upswing between people indoors and social disturbances, social networking apps – and especially those focused on online communication – are lockeddown.
Tinder adopted a growing interest in online networking by making its “passport” feature free. This setting allows users to match up with other singles around the world, turning Tinder into more than one social app focused on real-world dating. But this change could reduce Tinder’s overall revenue in the first half of the year.
The No. 2 top grossing app during the first half of 2020 was YouTube, which was estimated at $ 431 million globally. It was followed by Ticketcock of ByteDance with $ 421 million. The social video app, which also includes Doyen in China, broke the download record during the first half of the year, passing 2 billion total global downloads, Censor Tower previously reported.
Tencent Video and Netflix were the No. 4 and No. 5 top grossing apps respectively.
Meanwhile, homegrown consumers are downloading more apps and games during the epidemic. During the first half of the year, consumers installed 71.5 billion apps for the first time, an increase of 26.1% from the first half of 2019.
TikTok was the most downloaded app in the first half of the year with 626 million downloads. But given the recent changes in India, its situation may be quite different in the second half of the year, where the government has now banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok.
The number 2 and number 3 apps were WhatsApp and Zoom respectively – the latter a sign of a rapid shift from online video conferencing work in general to the embrace of home and consumers. Apart from WhatsApp, Facebook occupied the number 4, number 5 and number 6 in the top 10 along with Facebook, Instagram and Messenger in that order.
Snapchat’s social app was the number 7 and number 8 video app Like, which is similar to Tiktok but offers a variety of face effects and filters. Netflix and YouTube made it to the top 10.
Mobile gaming also saw a boom during the epidemic, with 21.2% year-over-year game spending reaching the projected $ 36.6 billion during the first part of the year. Spending on the App Store grew at an annualized rate of 22.7% to $ 22.2 billion, while Google Play game spending rose 19% to $ 14.4 billion.
Tencent’s Pub Mobile defeated King’s Honor as the top-grossing game in the first half of the year. Tencent’s game, which includes its localized versions (Game for Peace and Peacekeeper Elite), generated $ 1.3 billion in both app stores and not in China’s third-party Android app stores. The King’s honor, meanwhile, pulled in nearly $ 1 billion.
The remaining top 10 included in order, Monster Strike ($ 632M), Roblox, Coin Master, Candy Crush Saga, AFK Arena, Gardensides, Fate / Grand Order and Pokémon Go. The latter is conducive to recent indoor gaming amid government lockdowns.
Robox, in particular, has been aggravated by the epidemic as children’s stuck homes have gone to play online and socialize with friends in their virtual environments. In June, Censor Tower reported that Robox had crossed the $ 1.5 billion milestone in lifetime player spending, for example. Meanwhile, Coin Master, a $ 1 billion lifelong player approaching the milestone, found the firm.
In terms of top game installations, PUBG Mobile topped here, as well as another Battle Royale title, Garbage Free Fire. Ruby Game Studio’s Hunter Assassins, Eyewind Ltd.’s Brain Out, and Playrix’s Garden-Out – which were found to be a casual distraction during many stressful times – dropped out of the top five.
In the all-mobile gaming market, downloads grew by 42.5% year-over-year to 28.5 billion for the first time in the first half of 2020. App Store downloads grew by 29.5% to 5.7 billion.
The effect of COVID-19 is more pronounced in Q2
Signs of COVID-19’s impact on the app market can be found among the figures for the first half of the year – such as the growth seen by Zoom or social gaming platforms such as Robo, for example. But a closer look in the second quarter of 2020 alone makes the COVID-19 effect more pronounced.
Early estimates for Sensor Tower saw consumer spending on apps and games jump 11% on a quarterly basis from Q1 to Q2, and grew 28.8% year-over-year to $ 26.4 billion. This is a major increase from the 1.4% increase between Q1 2019 and Q2 2019. Downloads grew by 12% on a quarterly basis and 31.7% year-on-year to reach 37.8 billion worldwide. Again, a large increase from 2.5% growth between Q1 2019 and Q2 2020.