Global app spend topped $64 billion in the first half of 2021: report

PUBG Mobile continues to be a top earner globally

PUBG Mobile Godzilla vs. Kong

Consumers spent $64.9 billion USD (about $80 billion CAD) on apps and games on iOS and Android in the first half (H1) of 2021, according to a new study from app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Notably, this signified a 24.8 percent increase in revenue over what was generated during the same period in 2020. However, this growth is slightly lower than the 28.4 percent year-over-year (Y/Y) increase that was seen between the first half of 2019 and the first half of 2020.

Breaking it down, Sensor Tower projects that the App Store generated $41.5 billion USD ($51.2 billion CAD) in the first half of 2021, while the Play Store accounted for $23.4 billion USD (about $29 billion CAD) in the same period.

While the App Store regularly accounts for the majority of global app marketplace spend, Sensor Tower found that the Play Store is experiencing stronger growth. Where the App Store grew 22.1 percent in H1 2021 compared to 29.3 percent in H1 2020, the Play Store grew 30 percent in H1 2021 versus 26.8 percent in H1 2020.

Sensor Tower attributes the higher Play Store growth to markets such as the Philippines in which COVID-19 has continued to drive business closures and lockdowns.

Naturally, gaming accounted for the majority of overall app store revenue in H1 2021 with $44.7 billion USD (about $55 billion CAD). This is a 17.9 percent year-over-year increase, but well below the 25.5 percent increase between the same periods in 2019 and 2020.

According to Sensor Tower, $26 billion USD (about $32 billion CAD) of total game spend came from the App Store — up 13.5 percent Y/Y but far lower than the 26.5 percent Y/Y increase from H1 2019 to H1 2020. That said, Google Play maintained Y/Y growth as it brought in $18.7 billion USD (about $23 billion CAD) in gaming revenue in H1 2021.

Here are the top-grossing mobile games for the first half of 2021, per Sensor Tower:

  1. Honor of Kings
  2. PUBG Mobile (this also factors in the iOS title Game For Peace in China)
  3. Genshin Impact
  4. Roblox
  5. Coin Master

Additionally, these are the most downloaded games:

  1. Join Clash 3D
  2. Garena Free Fire
  3. High Heels
  4. Bridge Race
  5. Among Us

Overall, though, game downloads fell 1.4 percent across the App Store and Google Play, suggesting that players are simply focusing more of their time and money on fewer titles.

Image credit: PUBG Corp.

Source: Sensor Tower