The App Economy Sees Robust Growth Across Categories in Both Emerging and Mature Markets
App Annie, the leading provider of app data and insights, recently released the third annual app market forecast, which projects global app store growth for the next five years. App Annie forecasts that consumer spend on apps will reach $156.5 billion in 2022 as a result of a rapidly growing install base and increasing spend per device in more mature markets. Average spend per consumer reached $20.94 in 2017 and is forecast to rise to $25.65 in 2022.
As consumers increasingly rely on and get value from apps, their willingness to spend increases. This is driven by the combination of spend by consumers in mature markets rising quickly while the install base of mobile devices expands 56 percent to reach 6.1 billion in 2022. This means 2 billion more mobile devices are projected to enter the global install base over the next 5 years, largely from emerging markets with lower purchasing power.
“The app economy continues to flourish as consumers across the globe increasingly value the convenience that mobile apps deliver,” said Danielle Levitas, SVP of Research, App Annie. “With consumers spending an average of nearly three hours each day in apps, it’s critical for brands and publishers to have a strong mobile channel for their customers to reach them whenever they choose from wherever they are.”
Report Highlights Include:
The App Economy Is More Global than Ever
The app economy is increasingly expanding its global presence with growth driven by more categories and countries. App adoption in each region depends on three factors: varying consumer behaviors and spending power, cultural sensitivities and preferences, and, most importantly, where the respective market sits within the App Annie App Market Maturity Model, which is used to assess where a market is along its path toward maturation.
The first phase of the Maturity Model is the Experimentation Phase and is characterized by surging downloads as first-time and early-stage smartphone owners discover experiment, and trial many apps. Emerging markets including India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Thailand are examples of countries in the Experimentation phase. In the second stage, the Expansion Phase, consumers are increasingly engaging with a variety of apps more regularly and time in apps soars as spend climbs. Some emerging markets, as well as some developed markets, fall in this phase, including Taiwan, France, and Tier 3 and lower-tier cities in China. Finally, the Maturation Phase is characterized by slowing downloads, high usage and very strong app monetization. Markets that are entering the Maturation phase include Japan, the United States, South Korea, and Tier 1 & 2 cities of China. By 2022, app markets across the world will still be at varying stages of maturity.
Key Country Highlights
The top 5 markets in 2022 by consumer spend are forecast to be: China, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and Germany. By 2022, APAC will account for 64.8 percent of global app store spend and 72.4 percent of downloads. China is and will continue to be the largest market for apps in both downloads and app store spend, with consumer spend more than doubling from 2017 to 2022 to reach $62.4 billion, or nearly 40 percent of worldwide spend. Annual per user spend in Japan will exceed $140 by 2022—this is nearly 6x the global average and by far the highest in the world. Domestic publishers are strong in APAC and, given the huge opportunity, effective localization and careful local partnerships can help international publishers breakthrough.
In addition to APAC, countries in both AMER and EMEA will see spend expand. The U.S. annual spend per user will exceed $60 in 2022, up nearly 50 percent vs. 2017. Germany will climb from 7th largest market in consumer spend in 2017 to become the 5th largest by 2022.
Non-Gaming Apps Gaining Momentum
Spend on apps (excluding games) is forecast to grow even faster than spend on games, reaching $43 billion (or nearly 28 percent) of app store spend in 2022. Music, video, dating and other categories are experiencing some of the strongest growth rates and are expected to increase share through 2022.
In 2017, games represented 36 percent of downloads and 79 percent of spend in app stores. App Annie expects games to drive a slightly lower percentage of downloads by 2022 as the category thrives on new releases and titles and capture approximately 72 percent of spend.