App stores have seen significant year-on-year growth, with customers spending 32 percent more than at the same time in 2019, with 23.3 percent more installs. This is a large growth compared to 24 percent increased spending and nine percent increased downloads last year.
Spending on in-app purchases, subscriptions, and premium apps rose by 31 percent to $19 billion worldwide on Apple’s App Store in the third quarter, up from $14.5 billion at the same time last year. This is almost twice the revenue earned by Google’s Play Store, consistent with last year’s split between the two platforms. However, of the 36.5 billion app installs, Apple’s App Store only accounted for 8.2 billion, whereas the Google Play Store had over three times as many at 28.3 billion.
Short-form video social media app TikTok was the most downloaded app on both platforms, and it was also the highest-earning non-game app globally. This was its second consecutive quarter as the top-grossing non-game app. At this time last year, Tinder was the highest-grossing non-game app. As in previous quarters, Facebook’s apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, made up the majority of the top five non-game apps by global downloads, although none occupied the top spot.
Tencent took the first and second positions among the five top-grossing games in the third quarter with “Honor of Kings” and “PUBG Mobile.” Together, the top five highest-grossing games made more than $2.4 billion, which is 12 percent of all consumer spending on mobile games last quarter. Game installs decreased year on year for Apple’s App Store from 2.4 billion to 2.3 billion, with the vast majority of downloads instead being from Google Play, which saw growth of 36.8 percent.
Sensor Tower analysts believe that going into the fourth quarter, new trends will emerge, as will new standout apps, partly driven by platform innovations such as home screen customization on iOS. A full report on global app adoption with specific analyses of top publishers and trends for the third quarter is expected soon.