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Apple App Store still dominates; TikTok remains the most popular app overall

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Apple App Store still dominates; TikTok remains the most popular app overall
According to Sensor Tower, consumer spending on in-app purchases, premium apps, and subscriptions in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store is expected to hit $133 billion for 2021. This would be a 19.7% year-over-year gain from the $111.1 billion that was spent by consumers in both the iOS and Android app storefronts last year. That was slightly lower than the 21% year-over-year gain generated by the public in 2019.

App Store revenue remains 1.8 times the amount collected in the Google Play Store


Sensor Tower expects to see consumer spending in the App Store rise 17.7% on an annual basis from $72.3 billion to $85.1 billion. Possibly due to the lower amount spent in the Google Play Store, the percentage increase on an annual basis should be measurably higher than what we saw with the App Store; for 2021 Sensor Tower expects Google Play Store revenue to reach $47.9 billion for a 23.5% hike over last year's $38.8 billion.

Interestingly, in 2021 and 2020 the amount spent in the App Store will be about 1.8 times the revenue collected by Google in the Play Store. Combining the activity in both the App Store and Google Play Store, TikTok is the highest revenue producer among non-game apps. For the first 11 months of the year, TikTok took in revenue of $2 billion, up 67% from the $1.2 billion that the short-form video app took in during the first 11 months of last year.

By the end of this year, TikTok revenue on both iOS and Android platforms should hit $2.3 billion bringing its lifetime earnings figure to $3.8 billion. YouTube should finish second followed by Piccoma, Tinder, and Disney+. TikTok and YouTube were both numbers one and two in the App Store for the first 11 months of the year with Tinder third, Tencent Video fourth, and iQIYI fifth.

In the Google Play Store, currently TikTok is fourth with cloud storage subscription app Google One on top. Japanese manga subscription service Piccoma is now second with Disney+ third and HBO Max fifth.

TikTok is the most installed app overall


So far this year, global downloads of apps advanced only .5% year-over-year from 142.9 billion in both app stores last year to 143.6 billion this year. The Google Play Store will be wholly responsible for the meager gains as installs on the Android-powered platform will show a 2.6 percent increase year-over-year to 111.3 billion from 108.5 billion. On Apple's App Store, the number of installs will decline 6.1% this year to 32.3 billion.

The most installed app overall will be TikTok which also will earn that designation on the App Store. Combining the App Store and the Google Play Store, TikTok downloads should number around 745.9 million, down 24% from the 980.7 million downloads the app generated last year. In 2021, TikTok was removed from its top market (India) and still performed strongly. Social media and messaging apps dominated the downloads list with Facebook second, Instagram third, WhatsApp fourth, and Messenger fifth overall.

On the App Store, after TikTok will come YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook (the latter three are all Facebook units). On the Play Store, Facebook currently owns the top spot with 500.9 million installs. Overall, Facebook will tally 624.9 million downloads, down 12% from 707.8 million.

Overall mobile game spending should hit $89.6 billion across both the App Store and Play Store for a 12% gain year-over-year. However, as a percentage of all apps purchased, mobile games have seen a decline from 74.1% in 2019 to 67.4% this year. Mobile games are seen ending 2021 making up 61.5% of App Store revenue while games are more important to the Google Play Store and should makeup 78% of revenue on that platform.

Mobile games will account for global revenue of $52.3 billion in the App Store, up 9.9% from last year's $47.6 billion. Tencent's Honor of King will end up this year as the top-grossing game in the App Store with revenue of $2.9 billion on this platform only. That is a 16% rise from 2020s $2.5 billion generated by the game.

$37.3 billion will be spent in the Google Play Store worldwide on mobile games this year, up 16.6% on an annual basis. The top game is Moon Active’s Coin Master, which saw its revenue hit close to $912 million for a year-over-year hike of 13 percent  Last year this game tallied revenue of $809.8 million in the Play Store.

Mobile game installs will decline 1.6% this year to 55.3 billion. This decline was due to the huge surge in game downloads last year thanks to the pandemic. App Store game installs will decline 14.9% to 8.6 billion on the App Store while Play Store game downloads will finish the year up 1.3% to 46.7 billion.

The most installed game for both app stores combined will be Garena Free Fire; in the App Store alone it is PUBG Mobile, and Garena Free Fire in the Google Play Store.

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