Pulse on Current App Trends, Q3 2020

Matthew Kloss | October 29, 2020
Strategic Account Executive

We’re back with another installment of our Pulse on Current App Trends Report, where YouAppi brings you a rundown of the actionable insights from the latest app engagement trends in mobile. In our latest report, we’re reviewing global app engagement and trends in Q3 2020.

Global App Engagement

Global app downloads reached 36.4 billion in Q3, an increase of 22.8% compared to Q3 2019. App Store installs grew 2.5% to 8.2 billion, while Google Play grew 30.3% to 28.2 billion. 

Source: Sensor Tower

Monthly time spent in mobile apps grew 25% year over year in Q3 2020. Users spent over 180 billion hours in apps each month in July, August and September 2020.

Source: App Annie

Regionally, time spent in apps grew the most in Indonesia at 40% year-over-year growth. India, Brazil, and Russia took second place in this growth of mobile time spent at 30% year-over-year growth. 

Source: App Annie

 

Top Apps By Spend

Q3 2020 was the largest quarter yet for mobile app consumer spend. Consumers spent a record $28 billion in apps. On iOS, spend grew 20% to $18 billion. Spend on Google Play grew 35% to over $10 billion. Non-gaming apps accounted for 35% of consumer spend on iOS and 20% on Google Play. This revenue was generated largely by in-app subscriptions. 

Source: App Annie

The United States and Japan generated the majority consumer spend on iOS in Q3, and were the largest drivers of quarter-over-quarter growth. On Google Play, however, the US, Japan, and South Korea were the three largest markets, with South Korea and Japan driving the largest growth from Q2 to Q3. 

By consumer spend, Tinder ranked #1, up one position quarter over quarter — indicating strong demand and use of dating apps during lockdown policies due to COVID-19. Dating apps have implemented strategies to leverage mobile’s inherent social distancing features such as video calling to battle restrictions on in-person dating. They represent a beacon within mobile on how companies can pivot and leverage a mobile-first strategy to weather turbulent times. 

Other notable apps that have seen standout growth in consumer spend quarter over quarter include Disney+, Piccoma — a comic app popular in Japan — and BIGO LIVE, a social live-streaming app. These apps act as entertainment hubs for people looking for ways to pass the time during quarantine restrictions.

Top Apps by Downloads

Source: App Annie

TikTok continued its dominance of global downloads in Q3 2020 despite being banned in India during the quarter. After surpassing 300M downloads in both Q1 and Q2 2020, its installs dipped under 200M in Q3.

That said, the breakout app of Q3 was Snack Video, a short video app from Kuaishou launched in July, which gained particular traction in India in light of TikTok’s absence. It was the only app to reach the top 10 for the first time in Q3 2020, with more than 80% of its downloads during the quarter generated from India.  Another newcomer and TikTok alternative in Q3 was MX Taka Tak, another short video app competitor to TikTok launched in July. Downloads for MX Taka Tak were also driven by demand in India in TikTok’s absence.

On Google Play, India and Brazil were the two largest markets by downloads in Q3 2020. In terms of growth, India, Brazil were joined by Mexico as the biggest drivers from Q2 to Q3. Meanwhile, on iOS, the United States and China were the two largest markets by downloads, while India and South Korea were the main drivers of download growth quarter over quarter.

Mobile Games Continue to Dominate

On Google Play and iOS, Gaming was the largest category by consumer spend. A record number of consumers turned to mobile games to stay entertained and connected with friends amidst the global pandemic. In fact, in Q3 2020 the average weekly downloads in mobile games across the app stores hovered around 1 billion for the second straight quarter, an increase of 15% compared to a year prior.

In Q2 2020, U.S. mobile game revenue surpassed $6 billion. Games kept much of this growth, grossing $5.8 billion in revenue in Q3 2020. By the end of 2020, consumer spend in mobile gaming is expected to outpace desktop and home console gaming by more than 2.8x and 3.1x, respectively — solidifying that mobile gaming is in a league of its own. 

Consumers downloaded 14 billion games in Q3 2020. On iOS, customers downloaded approximately 2.6 billion games. On Google Play, users downloaded 11 billion games. Google Play game downloads accounted for a higher share of overall downloads than on iOS with 45% of all downloads consisting of games versus 30% on overall downloads on iOS. 

Takeaways

Q3 2020 was another banner quarter for global app downloads and revenue, reflecting a continued trend towards mobile usage in the continued pandemic.

  • Global app downloads reached 36.4 billion in Q3, an increase of 22.8% compared to Q3 2019. App Store installs grew 2.5% to 8.2 billion, while Google Play grew 30.3% to 28.2 billion. 
  • Monthly time spent in mobile apps grew 25% year over year in Q3 2020. Regionally, time spent in app grew the most in Indonesia at 40% year-over-year growth.
  • Consumers spent a record $28 billion in apps.
  • TikTok continued its dominance of global downloads in Q3 2020 while competitor app,  Snack Video, reached top 10 for the first time in light of TikTok’s absence in India.
  • In Q3 2020, U.S. mobile game revenue reached $5.8 billion.