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Global app spend jumps US$135bn, TikTok and BIGO LIVE among breakout social apps

Global app spend jumps US$135bn, TikTok and BIGO LIVE among breakout social apps

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Total consumer spend on apps across iOS and Google Play jumped by nearly 25% year-on-year to hit US$135 billion globally, App Annie said. App downloads also hit a new milestone growing 8% year-on-year to reach 140 billion.

As in previous years, iOS spending dominates as 65 cents in every app economy dollar is spent by Apple users, App Annie said. Gamers spend the most, contributing approximately 60% of iOS revenue and nearly 80% of dollars spent in Google Play. Outside of gaming, more than a third of non-gaming spend came from entertainment and social apps, and App Annie foresees tremendous growth for both segments in the coming years, with revenue from entertainment apps rising to US$12 billion next year, doubling the total for 2020.

TikTok, BIGO LIVE, Discord, Facebook, and Tango were the top breakout social apps by spend in 2021. TikTok, in particular, led the spend chart worldwide in the US and UK also. App Annie predicts that social apps will earn US$9 billion in 2022, an 82% increase from 2020. Looking at the breakout charts for 2021, App Annie said it is obvious that video streaming and community features are the primary drivers of success at present.


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This trend is also in line with App Annie's earlier report about social media spend, which found that US$78 billion is expected to be spent in social apps through 2025. Consumers are expected to spend US$6.78 billion via social apps this year, rising to US$17.7 billion in annual spend in 2025, a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29%. According to App Annie, the increase in consumer spend has been propelled by livestreaming features such as real-time chats, multi-guest rooms and virtual "gifting" have paved the way for creators to boost engagement within social apps.

Overall, when it came to the top apps globally, video sharing and editing apps saw the highest growth this year, with CapCut, MX TakaTak, and Moj topping the charts as consumers looked to develop original video content. Meanwhile, App Annie found that consumer spend was driven by live and content streaming apps such as YouTube, Disney+, TikTok, and Twitch, as consumers were seeking to both be entertained and reward their favorite live-streamers. Business apps such as Zoom, Microsoft Office, and Teams led the growth for usage as working from home and hybrid business models become a mainstay.

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According to App Annie, gaming accounted for about US$90 billion in total revenue and the company described 2021 to be "as dynamic as any previous year" for gaming. Hyper casual games reigned supreme for downloads, with Bridge Race, Hair Challenge and Project Makeover coming out on top. Core games dominated spend driven by in-app purchases, with Genshin Impact and Roblox seeing the largest growth.

Additionally, Roblox, AmongUs, and Pokemon Unite saw big increases in usage as these games allowed users to socialise in person or virtually. The top-performing sub-genres for gaming were strategy, RPG, and simulation.

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Photo courtesy: 123RF

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