Consumer spend on apps is set to blow past $139b in 2021, with global downloads forecasted to grow 20% annually to hit $352 billion in 2021, according to App Annie’s App Store Forecast Report.
The five largest mature markets, US, China, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom are expected to contribute 85% of global consumer spend in 2021.
Emerging markets on the other hand are expected to fuel downloads in mobile app stores, particularly in India, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia.
“Apps are transforming the way consumers interact with products, services, content and brands, across verticals globally,” said Danielle Levitas, senior vice president of research, App Annie.
“Apps are creating an intimate, highly-personalized environment for brands to engage with users. Consumers are already spending twice as much time in apps than they did two years ago, which means it is increasingly critical for companies to build a successful business on apps if they haven’t already,” she added.
APAC is set to remain the global leader by both downloads and revenue, with China forecasted to lead in both categories, growing 19% (downloads) and 24% (app spend) from 2016 to 2021. India will also be a strong driver for downloads through 2021. Other emerging markets in the region are also set to see a boom in downloads as 3b consumers will discover apps in the next five years according to App Annie, and mature markets will see users increasingly engage and spend on apps as well.
The Android stores are expected to pass the iOS App Store in terms of consumer spend in 2017, driven by increasing app installs in Google Play and third-party Android stores. The iOS App Store however, is expected to reign supreme in app store revenue over the next five years, with its affluent customer base spending more per device than Android users. The iOS App Store then is projected to hit $60b in gross consumer spend in 2021.
Games is still set to remain the revenue leader among apps to 2021, with the emerging non-games categories to hit $33.8b, growing 25% annually. Games represented 11% of time spent and 39% of all downloads in 2016 alone, while generating 81% of consumer spend. Even as games shift to mobile and consumers ease with spending, App Annie expects games to continue generating the majority of revenue in 2021.