App Store purchases for the Apple iPad hit a record $2.1 billion in the first quarter

App Store purchases for the Apple iPad hit a record $2.1 billion in the first quarter
Tablet sales have been struggling over the last few years. Handset screen sizes have been slowly encroaching on tablet displays and there usually aren't enough new features to warrant upgrading to a new tablet every few years. However, tablet sales could benefit from the pandemic as many people forced to work from home are purchasing a tablet to take care of business. Students now schooling from home also are turning to tablets to make learning easier. In China, tablet sales are rising and last month consumers in the country were paying small premiums to purchase certain Apple iPad models.

Apple iPad users installed 1.11 billion apps worldwide during the first quarter


The increase in tablet purchases is being revealed in the number of apps being purchased for iPad models. According to app analytical firm Sensor Tower, increasing tablet use during the pandemic has resulted in a year-over-year increase in app downloads for iPad models for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2013. During the three month period from January 2020 to March 2020, downloads of iPad apps hit 1.1 billion worldwide, a 40% year-over-year increase from the same quarter in 2019. It also was a 52% sequential increase from the fourth quarter of 2019 which gives us a more accurate look at current trends.


Apple iPad users downloaded 1.11 billion apps globally during the first quarter, up from the 735 million installed during 2019's holiday quarter. The Games segment had its best quarter on the iPad since the first quarter of 2016 leading the way with 603 million titles downloaded, up 52% sequentially. 88 million Entertainment apps were installed on the iPad last quarter, the most since Q2 of 2018. With students using tablets to help them learn their lessons, spending on education apps rose the most in percentage terms from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020. The 35% increase resulted in spending of $92 million for such apps from January through March. If you were to guess which app categories would show the biggest improvements in installations during a global pandemic, Games and Education would be at the top of the list along with News.

On a monthly basis, 438 million iPad apps were installed in March. That is a 72% year-over-year increase in iPad app installations from March 2019 and a 21% hike from February 2020's total. The number of apps installed on iPad units in March was the largest amount since February 2015. China was the market with the most iPad installs with 151 million. That was the country's third-best month ever and the best March ever. In the states, March 2020 saw iPad app installations top 100 million for the first time since January 2016 and worked out to a 47% hike year-over-year.

Consumers spent 15% more money on apps for their iPad last quarter compared with the same quarter last year. Of the $893 million spent worldwide from January through March, $335 million or 37.5% of that total was spent by iPad users in China where spending rose 43% year-over-year.

Apple iPhone users installed 24% more apps worldwide during the first quarter compared to the initial quarter of 2019. That was nowhere near the 40% increase enjoyed by iPad apps. And that 24% growth rate was actually lower than the improvement in iPhone app installations seen during the first quarter of 2019. Sensor Tower wrote, "The global COVID-19 pandemic has clearly elevated the popularity of Apple’s tablet as a platform and made it an even more attractive target for app publishers as consumers in most markets remain in isolation for the foreseeable future. Sensor Tower forecasts that app adoption will see a lasting lift from COVID-19 beyond just Apple’s platforms, and will continue to track its impact on the wider app economy over the coming weeks and months."

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