App Annie’s report on global mobile app downloads in Q3 2017 is out, and once again demonstrates that the mobile app economy’s incredible growth is not liable to slow down anytime soon. According to data from the report, the total mobile app downloads for Google Play and Apple App Store, combined, reached nearly 26 billion worldwide in Q3 2017 alone. This represents a growth rate of over 8% YoY and is a new record.
This incredible growth in app downloads is made even more impressive by the fact that the data does not include re-installs or app updates. However, users are not only downloading more apps than ever before, they are also spending more time in apps. In-app time spent by Android users (not including China) rose from around 230 billion hours worldwide in Q3 2016 to almost 325 billion hours in Q3 2017, representing a growth of 40% YoY.
The growth in mobile app downloads in Q3 2017 was primarily driven by emerging markets in South East Asia such as India, Vietnam and Indonesia. In fact, India was the largest single contributor to Play Store download growth by a fair amount. The launch of Jio mobile network and the ensuing telecom price wars and smartphone boom has led the market to finally start fulfilling its immense potential. As a result, downloads in the region grew by nearly 100% between Q3 2016 and Q3 2017.
Meanwhile, Vietnam and Indonesia were two other countries who registered strong double-digit growth. There is also plenty of good news on the iOS side of things. Downloads surged 8% QoQ in Q3 compared to Q2 2017, led by strong performance in China, the US and Saudi Arabia. Relaxation on restrictions in regions like Saudi Arabia should provide an impetus for further growth in upcoming quarters.
More App Downloads Lead to More Spend on Apps
However, it is not just app downloads that are on the rise; According to the report, worldwide consumer spend for the two app stores grew at an even more accelerated rate than downloads. In fact, combined consumer spending grew to $17 billion in Q3 2017, at a 28% YoY growth rate. This impressive rate of growth was driven primarily by the Entertainment category. Here the Apple App Store continues to dominate, bringing in nearly $11 billion in revenue. In contrast, the Google Play Store brought in just under $6 billion. Despite this, both stores managed impressive growth rates of over 25% YoY.
While app download growth was driven by emerging, high volume markets, consumer app spend continues to be dominated by the elite mature markets such as China, South Korea, US etc. China continues to top the spend charts on the iOS platform, while South Korea performed admirably as well. Consumer spend in South Korea was primarily concentrated around a single app – the MMORPG gaming sensation, Lineage M. The game only launched in Q2 of this year, yet has somehow managed to become the top grossing app on both platforms in the region. Meanwhile, video streaming apps like Tencent Video, Youku, STARZ, HBO Now and Netflix also continue to drive higher spend in other regions.