Global App Spending: Paid Apps, Subscription And In-App Purchases To Drive $270 Billion Market [REPORT]

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The global app spending will reach $270 billion by 2025, nearly 2.5x the $111 billion from 2020.

Sensor Tower’s latest report estimates that global app spending will be dominated by Apple App Store despite the fact that it will clock only 4.6% CAGR in app downloads as compared with 11.5% CAGR Google Play is estimated to register during the same period.

However, both Apple App Store and Google Play are expected to witness strong growth with 21% CAGR and 17% CAGR, respectively, between 2021 and 2025.

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The growth of global app spending by consumers will be fuelled by paid downloads, subscriptions and in-app purchases.

Going forward, in one of the major shifts, app spending will no longer be dominated by gaming apps on Apple App Store. It would be non-gaming apps that will drive the growth of the total app spending on the Apple App Store estimated to reach $185 billion by 2025, according to a new forecast.

Gaming apps account for a lion’s share of the total app spending on Apple App Store currently. In 2020, $72 billion were spent on apps by Apple consumers, and gaming apps accounted for 66% of this.

It is, however, expected that the non-game app category spending to take over mobile gaming spend on the App Store by the year 2024 – a bold assumption, given how current consumer trends show that mobile gaming bags twice as much app spend than the amount users spend on non-gaming apps.

Sensor Tower’s forecast predicts that non-gaming spend on the App Store will reach $86 billion compared to mobile game spending which will stand at $73 billion by 2024.

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The report depicts that the gap would continue to widen. By 2025 revenue from non-games will reach $107 billion whereas mobile games will be at $78 billion only.

In contrast, gaming apps would continue to dominate on Google Play in terms of consumer app spending. Gaming apps would account for nearly 70% of total app spending on Google Play by 2025.

The mobile app intelligence firm also believes that more apps embracing the subscription model will bring about a massive shift in the global market. Last year, worldwide consumer spending on the top 100 subscription-based apps was up by 34% YoY to $13 billion, up from $9.7 billion in 2019.

But that being said, Sensor Tower’s recently released forecast report cannot predict what will be the regulatory environment in the global app ecosystem in the upcoming years and how that might impact app store subscription growth trends.

For instance, currently, companies such as Google and Apple require apps to charge their customers for subscriptions via Google and Apple’s own respective payment mechanism. However, with the introduction of new anti-competitive laws in the near future, app publishers might be able to market their own subscriptions inside their apps and that can easily defy this forecast.

Apple’s App Store To Bag More Global App Spend Than Google Play

Despite tough market conditions due to COVID-19 pandemic in-app spending continued to shot up, recording 30% YoY growth to $111 billion in 2020. Sensor Tower’s new forecast predicts that general in-app spending will soon return to pre-COVID levels over the course of the next 5 years.

The report mentions how gross revenue across both Apple’s App Store and Google Play will climb every year by registering a 19.5% CAGR to reach $270 billion by 2025. Out of that, $185 billion will be spent on Apple App Store and $85 billion on Google Play.

Source: Sensor Tower

Sensor Tower also mentioned how U.S app spending will be slower than the rest of the global market by clocking 17.7% CAGR to hit $74 billion by 2025.

So, who will be the main drivers of app spending?

The report estimates that it would be European markets led primarily by the U.K. Sensor Tower believes 11 European countries will pass $1 billion in consumer spending by 2025 to collectively hit the milestone of $42 billion in consumer spending.

Source: Sensor Tower

Lastly, app downloads are will continue to grow to reach a whopping 230 billion in the next four years. Out of these estimated 230 billion app downloads, 187 billion will take place from Google Play.

The estimation on global app spending by 2025 indicates the increasing penetration, usage and dependency of smartphone users on apps as compared to mobile web and desktop. People love to take their world with them and mobile apps have emerged as a true catalyst to the unprecedented growth and adoption.

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