iPhone Users’ Average Spend On Apps in The US Grew By 38% In 2020 [REPORT]

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The United States is one of the key demographics for Apple, be it sales of iPhone, iPad or Mac, or users spending on iOS apps. According to a new report from Sensor Tower Intelligence, a US iPhone user spent an average of $138 on apps in 2020, an impressive 38% YoY increase!

Sensor Tower mentioned that the calculation of the spending has been based on the amount spent on in-app purchases and buying premium apps. However, it excludes transactions on e-commerce apps such as Amazon apps, ride-hailing services such as Uber and any other apps wherein the purchases aren’t processed via Apple’s App Store directly.

Now, let’s breakdown the key findings of the report.


Average In-App Spending: 32% CAGR

In its report, Sensor Tower highlighted that the average in-app spending per iPhone device reached a new record in the previous year and clocked an impressive 33.2% CAGR in the past 5 years.

2020’ growth severely exceeded that of 27% YoY growth recorded in 2019, wherein the average in-app spending in the US increased from $79 to $100.

Source: Sensor Tower

This significant increase in-app spending per active iPhone can be majorly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the increased screen time whilst being subjected to practising social distancing.

Per iPhone Spending On Mobile Gaming Sees 43% Growth

The growth of in-app spendings for iPhone users is largely due to the increasing fascination and usage of mobile games. The in-app spending per iPhone device in mobile games, jumped from $53.80 in 2019 to $76.80 in 2020, a strong 43% YoY growth. A deeper look depicts that in-app spending on mobile apps has been on a constant rise for years now. In 2019, gaming apps contributed $53.60 to average in-app spending per active iPhone user, a 22% increase from $44 in 2018.

Source: Sensor Tower

The increased power Apple has been adding each year to iPhone is making gaming experience on iPhone much more mesmerising. The latest A14 Bionic chipset put under the hood of iPhone 12 series is attracting gamers to iPhone, resulting in higher mobile in-app spending on mobile apps.


According to the data gathered from Sensor Tower Game Intelligence, the US iPhone users spent the most amount on puzzle games per device. It averaged $15.50 on the category, which includes highly popular titles such as Candy Crush saga and Gardenscapes.

After puzzle games, the casino category was the second biggest niche which attracted the highest user spending averaging $13.10, followed by strategy games with an average spending of $12.30 per iPhone device.

A big proponent of spending in the mobile gaming category can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic as well because consumers sought to find new and interesting ways to socialise with their friends whilst being under self-imposed house arrests.

Also, take note here that another recently released report by Sensor Tower revealed that app referrals made up for the largest source of downloads when it comes to mobile games.

Entertainment emerged as the second most popular category in terms of per-iPhone in-app spending in 2020. As the pandemic was in full swing, all in-person space, including movie theatres, restaurants, etc., were closed. As a result hordes of consumers turned to streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ for consuming content.

Sensor Tower recorded that the average in-app spending per active US iPhone in Entertainment category was at $10.20, the second-highest after mobile games. It increased 26% YoY when compared to $8.10 spent in 2019. It was a huge leap in comparison to the per-iPhone spending growth recorded in this category between 2018 and 2019, which was only 1%.

In closing, one must take note that the average consumer spending on apps per iPhone in the United States has always grown at a pace no less than 20%, and it is very unlikely that trend will change going forward. As the Covid-19 situation is far from over anytime soon, people are bound to follow social distancing norms and many restrictions that will allow them to spend more time with their mobile phones.

But, that being said, 2021 might see a less significant year over year growth than 2020 because the pandemic is slowly being wiped out, and normalcy is being restored.

Sensor Tower’s report is based on the estimated active iPhone devices in the US for calendar years 2015-2020. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.


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