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COVID-19 Lockdown Set To Provide A Lasting Boost For App Market

Sensor Tower has forecast that app spending will double to $171 billion by 2024, despite the COVID-19 economic downturn. The market research firm is also predicting that new app installs will reach 183.7 billion by 2024, split between Apple’s App Store (44.5 billion) and Google Play (139.2 billion).

“Our forecast shows the sudden uptake in mobile apps across multiple categories during COVID-19 related lockdowns having a continuing, yet diminishing, impact on adoption across the board through 2024,” Sensor Tower said.

With millions of people spending more time at home during the COVID-19 crisis, this trend has already been reflected in Q1 2020 results.

Source: Sensor Tower

The number of first-time App Store downloads surged in the first quarter, rising by 40% year-on-year (y-o-y) on iPads and 24% y-o-y on iPhones. For iPad app downloads, this figure surpassed 1.1 billion in the quarter and marked the first quarter of y-o-y growth in four years, according to market research firm Sensor Tower.

Alongside this, worldwide consumer spending in iPad apps increased by 16% y-o-y, totalling more than $2 billion for the first time ever. This could continue to grow in the quarter ahead, with Digitimes Research forecasting that tablet shipments will surge by 45.5% in Q2 2020.

Driven by millions of students being taught at home, education apps were the second-largest category, with 105 million installs, representing a y-o-y increase of 78%.

Gaming, however, continued to account for the vast majority of new app downloads, representing 603 million of the total 1.1 billion. This category also accounted for 76% of the total in-app spending, totalling around $1.6 billion. However, in-app spending in education apps witnessed the sharpest growth, rising by 35% to $92 million.

Source: Sensor Tower

Looking further ahead, it is expected that the substantial app growth of 2020 may taper off as COVID-19 restrictions ease moving into 2021 and 2022. Nevertheless, Sensor Tower expects there to be lasting benefits from the COVID-19 lockdown period for the app industry.

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