US iPhone users hiked their spending on in-app purchases and premium apps by 23% last year, reports Sensor Tower, based on its Store Intelligence data. The average estimated amount spent per active iPhone grew to $58 last year, up from $47 in 2016. While that was a considerable increase, it didn’t quite match Sensor Tower’s Q4 2017 prediction of $63 per device.
Gaming Apps Get the Most Revenue, but Lifestyle Apps Grow More Quickly
Looking at the top-earning app categories last year, the report demonstrates that Gaming apps were far and away the most lucrative. Indeed, US App Store revenue per active iPhone averaged $36 for Games, up 13% from $32 in 2016.
To put that in perspective, the $32 spent per iPhone on Games represented more than half (62%) of the estimated $58 spent per device overall for the year. In fact, the per-device spend on Gaming apps was almost 3 times higher than the next 4 largest app categories, combined.
Among those, the per-device spend was largest for Entertainment apps, growing by 57% to $4.40 and overtaking Music apps (+8% to $4.10) in the process. Sensor Tower’s late-2017 prediction of Entertainment apps surpassing Music apps in this area proved true.
Meanwhile, among the top 5 earning app categories, Lifestyle (the 5th-largest) experienced the greatest increase in per-device spending, more than doubling year-over-year to $2.10. Sensor Tower reports that Tinder and Bumble were among the top earners in the Lifestyle category.
US iPhone Users Averaged 45 App Downloads Last Year
The number of app installs across the base of active iPhones last year grew to 45, up almost 10% from 41 in 2016. That means that US iPhone users installed 4 more apps on average last year than the year before, a positive sign amidst the proliferation of available apps.
Games were again the largest category, with an average of 13.1 App Store downloads per active iPhone, up from 12.3 in 2016.
The next-biggest category, Photo & Video, actually saw a decrease in the number of downloads per iPhone – the only of the top 5 categories to see such a decline. Overall, Sensor Tower counted 3.6 Photo & Video app downloads per active iPhone last year, down 10% from 4 the previous year.
The number of Entertainment apps downloaded from the App Store, by contrast, grew by 7% to 3.1 per active device, overtaking the number of Social Networking apps downloaded, which remained flat at 2.9.
The full report is available to view here.