Consumers spent a record $32 billion on apps in Q1 2021, the most ever

Global app spending was up 40 percent in Q1 2021 compared to the same period a year earlier and represents the largest quarter of spending since App Annie started keeping records. If nothing else, it is further evidence of the impact that the global pandemic has had on the app market and how it has shaped consumer behavior.

Consumers’ appetite for mobile apps is higher than ever. According to new data from analytics firm App Annie, users globally spent a record $32 billion on apps and in-app purchases in the first quarter of 2021.

“Stay at home orders forced consumers to seek out indoor stimulation, and they found it on their smartphones, through games and other highly engaging apps such as video streaming and social sharing platforms,” said App Annie’s Donny Kristianto.

Indeed, based on the data, we see that smartphone users collectively spent roughly $9 billion more on apps and games in the most recent quarter than they did in the first quarter of 2020. Remarkably enough, both iOS and Android platforms saw spending increase by exactly 40 percent, to $21 billion and $11 billion, respectively.

Zooming out a bit, we see that gaming was the most influential category across the entire app market. iOS gamers spent the most on titles at $13 billion, an increase of 30 percent year-over-year. Android players, meanwhile, collectively shelled out $9 billion, up 35 percent compared to the same period in 2020.