Consumers spent over $100B on mobile apps in 2020, study finds

Dive Brief:

  • Global consumer spending on mobile apps and games surpassed $100 billion in 2020, according to a preliminary December report from Sensor Tower. It was the first time consumers spent as much in a single year.
  • On Christmas, consumers worldwide spent about $407.6 million across the Apple App Store and Google Play, a 34.5% increase from $303 million in 2019. Consumers spent $112 million in non-gaming apps this Christmas compared to $70.5 million in 2019, according to Sensor Tower.
  • TikTok generated $4.7 million globally in revenue on Christmas, making it the top non-gaming app for consumer spending. For both the Apple App Store and Google Play, entertainment was the top non-gaming spending category, bringing in $19.3 million for the Apple App Store and $4.3 million for Google Play, per the report.

Dive Insight:

In its report, Sensor Tower notes that 2020 was a year of unprecedented change in consumer spending. U.S. consumers spent almost $130 million across both Google Play and the Apple App Store, leading international spending on mobile apps, per the report.

2020 also proved to be a record-breaking year for app downloads and spending before Christmas, other research has shown. In an earlier report, Sensor Tower found that 2.8 million apps were downloaded on Black Friday, setting a new single-day record. Walmart, Amazon and Shop were the top three most downloaded shopping apps for Black Friday 2020.

As for mobile shopping, smartphone purchases increased by 25% to $3.6 billion, comprising 40% of all online spending on Black Friday, according to research from Adobe Analytics. On Cyber Monday, consumers spent about $10.8 billion online, and mobile purchases comprised 37% of overall sales, according to another Adobe report.

In addition to mobile shopping, 2020 was also an important year for TikTok, which faced scrutiny by the Trump administration and appears to be turning into a significant platform for retailers and marketers. In October, the social media platform teamed up with Shopify to introduce shoppable video ads. As its user base and influence grows, Instagram has rolled out Shopping in Reels seemingly in response to TikTok’s expanding reach.

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