During the third quarter of 2020, worldwide app installations from both the Google Play Store and the App Store reached 36.5 billion apps. That was a 23.3% hike from the 29.6 billion installs that took place during the same quarter a year ago. The amount that consumers spent in both app storefronts during the three months came to $29.3 billion, a 32% hike from the $22.2 billion spent during last year's third-quarter.
Consumers spent $29.3 billion in app stores globally during the third quarter
App analytical firm Sensor Tower cites COVID-19 for the surge in the growth of installations and the amount of money spent on apps during the quarter. Last year saw a smaller 24% annual gain in Q3 revenue growth and a much lower 9% year-over-year growth in the number of third-quarter installations.
Even though the Android operating system is believed to make up 85% of the global smartphone market, iOS users have traditionally outspent Android users when it comes to purchases of apps and in-app purchases. For example, breaking down the amount of money spent in each app storefront from July through September, the iOS-based App Store took in $19 billion (up 31% from the $14.5 billion that was generated during Q3 2019). That compares to the $10.3 billion that Android users spent in the Google Play Store during the same quarter (which itself was a 33% year-over-year gain from the $7.7 billion spent during the same quarter last year).
Despite the possibility that it will be banned from the U.S., short-form video app TikTok continued to gain more subscribers worldwide. Loved by teens, especially during the pandemic since it gives them some outlet for their creativity, TikTok was the top-grossing non-game app for the second consecutive quarter. Consumer spending on the app rose 800% on an annual basis during the third quarter. Users can create videos of 15 or 60 seconds in length showing lip-syncs, dancing moves, comedy skits, pranks, and more. TikTok was tops in App Store revenue and overall revenue during the quarter but did not make the Google Play Store's top ten. The top-grossing app in the Google Play Store last quarter was Google One. This app allows users to manage their storage (including content in Google Drive, photos and videos in Google Photos, and more).
Based on the number of downloads as opposed to revenue, TikTok scored the Triple Crown during the third quarter as it led in App Store downloads, Google Play Store downloads, and overall downloads. In the latter category, Facebook was second in the number of downloads with its other apps also in the top ten. WhatsApp and Instagram were fourth and fifth respectively, with Messenger number eight.
Mobile game revenue globally rose 26.7% year-over-year to reach $20.9 billion overall. 59%, or $12.4 billion of the total, came from the App Store which resulted in a 24% annual gain during the quarter. Games from the Google Play Store generated a 30.8% hike in gross year-over-year to $8.5 billion. The top revenue-generating games on both platforms combined were Honor of Kings, PUBG Mobile, Pokemon GO, Roblox, and Coin Master. Speaking of Pokemon Go, the game continues to have legs. Celebrating its fourth anniversary, the title recorded a 33% year-over-year revenue gain during the third quarter. The top mobile games overall during the third quarter based on downloads included Among Us (which also was first in the App Store and the Google Play Store), Scribble Rider, Talking Tom Friends, Subway Surfers, and Garena Free Fire.
For the fourth quarter, which just started this past week, Sensor Tower expects to see new leaders in the app stores and expects to see the customizable iOS 14 home screen lead to some new successful games for the iPhone.