Global app downloads topped 175 billion in 2017, revenue surpassed $86 billion

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Global app downloads topped 175 billion and consumer spending exceeded $86 billion in 2017, thanks to growth in emerging markets including China, India, Brazil, and Russia, according to a new report from App Annie out this morning. Notably, India has now become the number two country by downloads, passing the U.S., which is now third. China has long since been in the lead.

The difference between the total downloads App Annie is reporting (175b) and the 91.5 billion recently reported by the firm Sensor Tower in its own year-end wrap-up can be attributed to how the data was gathered. Sensor Tower’s figures are drawn from the iOS App Store and Google Play. App Annie, however, also includes third-party Android stores in its analysis – that’s how it has visibility into China, where Google Play doesn’t have a presence.

India becoming the second largest country in terms of downloads is a significant change in the worldwide app market over this past year.

Downloads grew 215 percent over the past two years in the country, compared with 125 percent growth in China, and negative 5 percent growth in the U.S.

App Annie notes that app usage in India was driver by the introduction of subsidised, unlimited 4G access by Jio in September 2016, which has allowed users to come online in large numbers.

Although the U.S. has now become a more mature market, App Annie says there’s still a significant volume of absolute downloads here, as well.

For example, the firm found that U.S. users downloaded 3 apps per month, and at least 70 percent downloaded at least one. It’s worth pointing out that this stands in contradiction to earlier data from comScore which has continually reported that the majority of U.S. users don’t download any apps per month.

Related to this, App Annie claims that users aren’t just downloading apps – they’re engaging at record levels, too. In most markets, the average smartphone user has more than 80 apps on their phone, and uses close to 40 of them per month (or between one-third and one-half of the apps on their phone per month, on average).

In addition, consumers are spending nearly 3 hours in apps per day on average, and the markets analyzed (see below) have averaged nearly 30 percent growth in average daily time spent since 2015.

In a number of markets, including the U.S., Brazil, Russia, and others (see below), smartphone users spent 7x more time in mobile apps than on the mobile web, and access them 13x more often.

While India has surged in terms of downloads as more users come online, those figures don’t necessarily translate into revenues. Instead, the U.S. remains the number two market by gross consumer spend, behind China but still ahead of India.

Consumer spend in app stores – including the iOS App Store, Google Play and third-party Android stores – has more than doubled over the past two years, to top $86 billion by the end of 2017. The top markets by consumer spend have all seen double-digit percentage growth during this time, with China in the lead (+270%), followed by the U.S. (+75%), India (+60%), Brazil (+80%) and Russia (+35%).

The app market will continue to grow next year, as well. App Annie’s recent 2018 forecast pegged consumer spending worldwide to top $110 billion in 2018.

The new report also delves into app categories that did well in 2017, including finance/fintech, retail, video streaming, travel/ride-sharing, gaming, and social, and it spends some time analyzes China’s market in particular. You can request the full report here on App Annie’s site.

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