According to App Annie, consumer spending on apps in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store surged 40% during the first quarter of 2021 to a record total of $32 billion. The Apple App Store was responsible for $21 billion of that total while the Google Play Store took in the remaining $11 billion. During the first quarter of 2020, consumers spent $23 billion on apps with the coronavirus considered the main reason for the additional $9 billion that was spent on apps during the first three months of this year. With many forced to stay at home during the pandemic, quite a few people turned to the app storefronts available on their mobile devices to install games or streaming services so they can watch movies or television shows to pass the time. The number of downloads in aggregate between the two platforms rose 10% to 31 billion during the first quarter of 2021.
Consumers spent 40% more on apps during the first quarter of 2021
Gamers spent $9 billion in the Google Play Store during Q1 2021, up 35% year-over-year, while iOS game players spent 30% more on an annual basis at $13 billion from January through March. About a billion games were downloaded each week in during the first quarter of this year up 15% from 2020 and 35% over 2019's weekly Q1 figures.
Thanks to COVID-19, certain categories of apps were installed more than others. Big year-over-year increases in revenue were seen in the Google Play Store for purchases of Games, Social, and Entertainment apps. In iOS, the largest categories by revenue growth were Games, Photo & Video, and Entertainment. As far as downloads are concerned, the fastest growing titles in the Google Play Store were from categories such as Social, Tools, and Finance. Other categories showing strong growth in the Play Store included Weather (up 40%) and Dating (ahead 35%). In the App Store, revenues grew the fastest in categories such as Games, Photo & Video and Entertainment. Downloads of Health & Fitness apps rose 25% year-over-year during Q1 2021 as users looked for ways to stay fit while staying home. Other apps showing strength in downloads in the App Store included Games, Finance and Social Networking.
The top app downloaded from the App Store and the Google Play Store globally during the first quarter was short-form video app TikTok. Facebook and its stablemates Instagram and WhatsApp finished in second, third, and, fifth place respectively while Facebook Messenger was ninth. Based on consumer spending, YouTube was the top app during the three months from January through March with TikTok second, dating app Tinder third, and the Disney+ streamer fourth. The latter has been making strong inroads on Netflix thanks to popular fare such as WandaVision. Based on monthly active users, the top five remained the same from the previous quarter: Facebook, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Amazon. Twitter was number seven with Netflix at number nine. The fastest growing app by downloads and MAUs during the quarter was messaging app Signal. India's MX Takatak, a user-sourced video app, soared from number 28 based on revenue to number seven during the first three months of this year.
The list of top games downloaded in both stores during the first quarter saw a reversal as Join Clash 3D went from number two to number one, and Among Us! went from number one to number two. Phone Case DIY soared 1,052 places to number four and Stacky Dash went up nearly 500 places to Number 8. A newcomer, FAU-G: Fearless and United Guards launched right into the top ten.
In terms of consumer spending, ROBLOX was the top game during the first quarter. Pokemon GO was number four, PUBG MOBILE finished the three months at number six, and Candy Crush Saga took the seventh position. Among Us! had the most monthly active users (MAU) among iOS and Android games during the first quarter of 2021 followed by PUBG MOBILE, Candy Crush Saga, ROBLOX and Free Fire. Pokemon GO finished ninth in this category.