What is the current state of the mobile app market? How is it going to evolve in 2022 and years to come?
In this article, we bring you answers to these burning questions.
You’ll learn the biggest mobile app market trends, as well as the mobile app downloads and revenue forecasts for the next four years are.
(Data Source: AppAnnie State of Mobile 2022 Report & SensorTower Market Forecast 2021 – 2025)
The average time spent on mobile in 2021, across the markets analyzed, was 4 hours and 48 minutes per day. That’s 30% more than in 2019.
Brazil, Indonesia, and South Korea were the countries where this metric was the highest. In other words, people from these countries spent the most time on mobile in 2021 – more than 5 hours each day on average.
People in the US were spending 4.2 hours on their mobile devices every day. In comparison, they watched 3.1 hours of TV a day in 2021.
Top Mobile Markets
In this section, you’ll learn the top 20 mobile markets in 2021 by downloads, consumer spend, and time spent.
But first, it’s important to note that, globally:
- mobile apps got 230 billion downloads
- consumer spend reached $170 billion
- users spent 8 trillion hours on apps and games in 2021.
Top Mobile Markets in 2021 by Downloads
China leads the way with almost 100 billion downloads in 2021. Just to put it in perspective, India and the United States, countries that are second and third on this list, got to *only* 26 and 12 billion downloads in 2021, respectively.
Top Mobile Markets in 2021 by Consumer Spend
If we look at consumer spend, China is once again the number one mobile market. It experienced impressive growth in 2021 (more than $56 billion in consumer spend) compared to 2020 ($48.5 billion).
Following China are the United States and Japan. The former reached $43 billion, and the latter reached $20.7 billion in consumer spend in 2021.
Top Mobile Markets in 2021 by Time Spent
China, India, and the United States were the top three mobile markets in 2021 by time spent on mobile devices.
A mindboggling 1.1 trillion hours were spent on mobile in China in 2021. In India, people spent almost 0.7 trillion on their devices, and nearly 0.2 trillion in the US.
Time Spent by App Category
Another interesting data point is the hours spent in different app categories.
As you might expect, social media and communications apps were the most popular in 2021, with 0.3 trillion hours spent in Q1 and 0.4 trillion in Q4. Photo and video apps (which include apps like YouTube and TikTok) were second by time spent.
Finally, users spent almost 80 billion hours playing mobile games in Q4 2021.
Cumulative Number of Apps Released by Store
If you’re wondering whether the mobile app market is healthy and growing, this will answer your question.
In 2021, publishers released 2 million new apps and games, bringing the total number of apps and games to almost 22 million!
Furthermore, 15% out of the new releases in 2021 were mobile games; the rest were apps across all other categories.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that 77% of new apps and games in 2021 were released on Google Play.
Number of Apps Surpassing $100 Million in Annual Global Consumer Spend
Did you know that there were 233 mobile apps and games with more than $100 million consumer spend in 2021?
That’s right – and 174 out of those 233 apps were mobile games. Moreover, only 13 of those apps surpassed $1 billion in consumer spend.
Global Mobile Ad Spend
Despite IDFA changes, mobile ad spend reached new heights in 2021 ($295 billion) and represented 70% of digital ad spend. That’s all thanks to mobile being the leading channel with the most engaged and broad audience.
Furthermore, AppAnnie predicts global ad spend is going to reach $350 billion in 2022.
Mobile Game Market
In this section, we dive deeper into mobile’s most profitable channel – mobile games.
Here’s what you need to know.
Mobile Game Consumer Spend
In 2021, gaming consumer spend reached a whopping $116 billion – $15.5 billion more than in 2020.
Top Gaming Subgenres by Consumer Spend
The most profitable genre of 2021 was the 4X strategy, with $9.70 billion in consumer spend and Lords Mobile as the top game. It’s followed by the MMORPG and team battle subgenres, with $8.43 and $8.02 billion, respectively.
None of this is a huge surprise as this is how the mobile game market always was – hyper-casual games drive the downloads, while mid-core games earn the most from purchases.
Mobile Game Downloads
In 2021, there were more than 82 billion mobile game downloads – 3 billion more than in 2020.
The main drivers of downloads were hyper-casual games. However, popular games like Pokémon Unite and PUBG New State also saw a surge in downloads.
For a list of top mobile games, go here.
Top Gaming Subgenres by Downloads
It comes as no surprise that hyper-casual subgenres sit at the top in terms of downloads in 2021. More specifically, action, puzzle, and simulation hyper-casual games with 4.01, 3.78, and 3.15 billion downloads, respectively.
In conclusion, nothing much has changed in the mobile game market. We continue to see hyper-casual games drive the downloads while mid-core games earn the most.
Mobile App Spending Forecast
In 2020, mobile app spending hit new heights. SensorTower predicts this number will grow even further across all markets in the years to come.
Above, you can see a global gross revenue forecast for Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
Looking at both stores, we’ll notice that mobile app spending reached $111 billion in 2020.
SensorTower predicts a 19.5% compound growth rate, which means App Store and Google Play revenue could reach $270 billion by 2025.
If we compare the two stores, the App Store had almost double the revenue in 2020 ($72 billion compared to $39 billion on Google Play). That trend will continue in the next four years. The 2025 gross revenue forecast for the App Store is $185 billion and $85 billion for Google Play.
In 2020, mobile app spending in the US on both stores reached $33 billion ($21 billion on the App Store and $12 billion on Google Play). This year, it’s predicted to be $50 billion, reaching a whopping $74 billion by 2025.
When it comes to the European market, mobile spending in 2020 was almost less than half of the US gross revenue – $15 billion for the App Store and Google Play. That number was predicted to grow to $25 billion in 2022 and $42 billion by 2025.
Asia had the biggest revenue share in 2020 out of all the markets – $55 billion. As you might expect, gross revenue was higher for the App Store – $33 billion compared to $17 billion on Google Play.
SensorTower predicts gross revenue for both stores will grow at an 18.8% CAGR and reach $130 billion by 2025.
Mobile App Downloads Forecast
In this section, we’ll look at the number of downloads in 2020 across different markets and the predictions for the following years.
If we look at the global mobile app market in 2020, the number of downloads on both the App Store and Google Play was 143 billion. When it comes to mobile spending, more downloads came from Google Play than the App Store (109 billion and 34 billion, respectively).
This year, this number is set to reach 171 billion for both stores combined. By 2025, global downloads are projected to reach 230 billion, at a 10% compound annual growth rate.
In the US market in 2020, total downloads reached 14 billion. Last year, the App Store got more downloads – 8.3 billion compared to 5.7 billion on Google Play.
SensorTower predicts that the US App Store and Google Play downloads will reach 16.9 billion by 2025.
Interestingly, in 2020, Europe had a bigger download share than the US – 28.4 billion. More specifically, 7.3 billion downloads came from the App Store, and 21.1 billion came from Google Play.
App Store and Google Play downloads in Europe were predicted to reach 30.8 billion in 2022, 32.5 billion in 2023, 34.7 billion in 2024, and 36.9 billion in 2025.
In Asia, there were a total of 64 billion downloads on Google Play and the App Store in 2020. Out of that, only 14 billion came from the App Store and the remaining 50 billion from Google Play.
SensorTower predicts the number of downloads in Asia will grow at a 13.2% CAGR on both stores and reach 119 billion in 2025.
Final Thoughts on the State of Mobile App Market in 2022
As our state of mobile app market article has shown, mobile is where the majority of attention is. The growth of this market is only expected to grow, so make sure to adjust your business strategies accordingly.
If you need any help, make sure to reach out – we’re one of the best mobile marketing agencies out there!