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The global app market continued to grow in terms of downloads, usage, and consumer spending in 2017, according to App Annie.
Global app downloads across the iOS App Store, Google Play, and third-party Android stores surpassed 175 billion downloads in 2017, up 60% from 2015. And time spent in apps per day grew 30% from 2015 to reach 3 hours on average.
Meanwhile, global consumer spending hit $86 billion in 2017, more than doubling the total from 2015.
App Annie expects to see continued growth in the global app market, driven largely by accelerating adoption in emerging markets. As growth in developed markets slows, emerging markets are the focal point of global app download and usage growth.
- Four of the top five countries by downloads are emerging markets. App downloads tend to grow more rapidly in emerging markets, where new smartphone users are coming online for the first time. For instance, app downloads in India grew 215%, while app downloads in the US declined 5%.
- Consumers in emerging markets are using more apps, and spending more time on average per day in apps than consumers in developed markets. Consumers in India, Brazil, and Indonesia use 43, 41, and 40 apps each month, respectively, while consumers in the US, UK, Germany, and France use on average 35 to 36 apps each month. Furthermore, consumers in Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, and India spend on average more minutes per day in apps than consumers in the US, UK, Germany, and France (see chart below). This is in part due to emerging markets typically being mobile-first, meaning users there tend to rely more heavily on their smartphones and the apps that come with them.
- The high download growth and time spent in apps represent an attractive opportunity for monetization in emerging markets. While initially emerging markets may not represent revenue growth opportunities, over time they’ll mature into more substantial monetization players. That’s because when consumer habits become more concrete and users become more engaged with their apps, it allows for greater monetization via in-app purchases, in-app ads, and subscriptions.
The expected growth in emerging markets could be more beneficial for Google Play over the iOS App Store, as the former tends to have a wider footprint in emerging regions. Android’s dominance in emerging markets — which drive growth in app downloads and usage — bodes well for Google. While this will likely lead to increased consumer spending in apps and revenue for Google’s Services segment, Google Play will likely continue to lag behind the Apple App Store in that regard, as iOS generates more revenue per user and is popular in developed markets.
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