iOS App Store and Google Play app downloads grew 15 per cent year-over-year in Q1 2017 to nearly 25 billion, while gross consumer spend rose 45 per cent to well over $15 billion, App Annie revealed.
“The app market is soaring as consumers migrate more of their lives to mobile and pay for the ease, convenience and accessibility that apps offer,” the report observed.
Google Play widened its lead over iOS to 135 per cent in terms of worldwide downloads, up from a 100 per cent lead in Q1 2016, but iOS performed better in terms of consumer spend.
Downloads on Google’s store grew 20 per cent year-over-year, fuelled by growth in emerging markets including India and Indonesia.
India is still in the early stages of what the report calls the app market maturity cycle, and is experiencing an “incredible” rate of download as consumers try out new apps before deciding what to keep.
Smartphone penetration in India is below 30 per cent and as this goes up, App Annie expects the country to continue contributing significant download growth.
India also contributed to growth in iOS app downloads, second only to China.
Meanwhile, the iOS App Store downloads increased 5 per cent year-over-year in Q1, but App Annie highlighted consumer spend in the store, which grew 45 per cent.
Apple’s store increased its lead to 100 per cent in consumer spend over Google Play in Q1 2017, up from 90 per cent in Q1 2016.
App Annie predicts China will remain the largest single market for App Store spend through 2021.
However, Google Play wasn’t far behind in terms of consumer spend in Q1 2017, registering a 40 per cent year-on-year rise, thanks to mature markets like South Korea, Japan and the US.
Europe, too, played an important role: The UK, Germany and France were three of the top ten markets for both Google Play and iOS consumer spend in Q1 2017, a trend which held true for the past five years, App Annie said.
Meanwhile, a Newzoo report predicts global app store revenues will grow from $56 billion in 2017 to $85 billion in 2020, as the number of smartphone users increases from 2.6 billion to 3.6 billion over the same period.
The study also forecasts alternative app distribution methods and channels, such as independent third-party app stores and direct downloads, will become more important in the coming years, especially in the Android market.