Global App Spending Growth Hit the Brakes in Q1

May 3, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories: Customer-Centric | Digital | Mobile Phone | Spending Trends | Tablet

After growing by almost 20% year-over-year in 2021, global consumer spending in mobile apps stalled in Q1, according to the latest data from Sensor Tower Intelligence. Indeed, spending climbed by less than 1% (0.6%) year-over-year in Q1 as growth in App Store spending offset a decline in Google Play spend.

Spending on in-app purchases, subscriptions and premium apps in the App Store totaled $21.8 billion for the quarter, up 5.8% from the $20.6 billion spent in Q1 2021. That was just enough to offset the 8.5% decline in spending on Google Play, which fell from $11.7 billion to $10.7 billion.

TikTok was the top-grossing app overall for Q1. In the US, the app has overtaken Snapchat to be the favorite social media platform among teens, while separate research indicates that brand post engagement rates are far higher on TikTok than on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

TikTok was the #1 top-grossing app on the App Store, with Google One taking the #1 spot on Google Play.

Downloads Also Stall

First-time downloads also saw only very modest growth across both the App Store and Google Play, with the total up by just 1.1%. Downloads on Google Play inched up by 1.1% from 28 billion to 28.3 billion, while on the App Store they rose by 1.2% year-over-year, from 8.4 billion to 8.5 billion.

TikTok also topped the overall first-time downloads list, with 186 million installs globally. It was the most-downloaded app on the App Store ahead of YouTube and WhatsApp, while on Google Play it ceded the top position to Meta brands Instagram and Facebook. Sensor Tower notes that while Facebook was the most downloaded app on Google Play last year, Instagram took that spot in Q1.

Top Apps’ MAUs Expand

In comparison to global download and spending figures, the number of monthly active users (MAUs) in top apps saw healthier growth of 4.8% year-over-year.

In analyzing the top 100 most-used mobile apps globally in various categories, Sensor Tower finds that Medical had by far the biggest jump in usage, more than doubling year-over-year (+102%). The authors attribute this to a large increase in COVID-related app usage.

Other categories with increases in usage for their top apps included Navigation (+24%), Travel (+19%), Business (+15%), Shopping (+14%), Finance (+13%) and Education (+13%).

About the Data: Figures are estimates from Sensor Tower Store Intelligence for the period between Jan 1 and March 31 2022.

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