After years of impressive growth and mobile apps reaching more people than ever, the global app industry saw a downturn in 2022, the first one in the market’s history.
According to data presented by SafeBettingSites.com, global consumer spending on mobile apps dropped by a massive $3bn last year.
The First Decline After Years of Double-Digit Growth
As an essential part of the smartphone experience, the largest number of apps available in app stores are free to download. However, the growth of global consumer spending on apps over the past decade has shown a healthy appetite for premium services and paid app content.
According to Data.ai The State of Mobile 2023 survey, global consumer spending on mobile apps has seen double-digit growth for years, with 2017 as an absolute record year. That year alone, consumers worldwide spent $82.1bn on subscriptions and in-app purchases, or 42% more than a year before that.
In 2018, global consumer spending grew by another 23% and hit a $100bn benchmark. Statistics show 2019, 2020, and 2021 saw an 18% year-over-year growth. In 2021 only, consumers worldwide spent a huge $170bn on mobile apps, driven mainly by the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge in the use of mobile apps.
However, after a two-year boost in app usage and engagement, gross consumer app spending dropped by 2% to $167bn, showing spending trends are slowly normalizing. The first-ever drop was also fuelled by a recession in several key markets, which changed users’ spending behavior.
Downloads Grow, Despite Spending Drop
The Data.ai survey showed the number of app downloads worldwide has constantly been increasing from 2016 onward, surpassing 200 billion in 2019. Over the next two years, downloads jumped by another 25 billion and hit 230 billion worldwide.
That doesn’t surprise considering the average smartphone user spends more than two hours daily on social and gaming apps, with thousands of new apps on the market each month.
Last year, consumers downloaded 255 billion mobile apps to their connected devices, 10% more than in 2021 and up by 82% from 140 billion seen in 2016.
The number of downloads is expected to grow and hit over 262 billion this year. By 2025, this figure is expected to jump to over 300 billion.