App StoreSource: Joe Keller / iMore

What you need to know

  • Consumers spent more than $72 billion on Apple's App Store in 2020.
  • That's according to new Sensor Tower data, suggesting a 30% increase on 2019's total of $55 billion.

A new report says consumers spent a whopping $72 billion on Apple's App Store in 2020.

From Sensor Tower:

Globally, consumer spending on the App Store reached $72.3 billion, up 30.3 percent Y/Y from $55.5 billion in 2019. As in previous years, this exceeded the amount users spent on Google Play, which grew 30 percent Y/Y from $29.7 billion in 2019 to $38.6 billion. The App Store generated 87.3 percent more in consumer spending than the Play store, and both platforms experienced roughly the same Y/Y growth. The spending gap between the platforms remained relatively flat compared to 2019.

Games aside, the most lucrative category on the App Store was entertainment, worth over $5 billion. Sensor Tower says that 2020 also marked an App Store record for first-time installs of 34.4 billion, growth of around 12.1%.

After games, the most installed apps were Photo & Video apps, a testament to the growing power of the iPhone's camera as an all-purpose photography machine. As you might expect, the single app with the most first-time installs in 2020 was Zoom with 212.5 million.

Gaming is so lucrative on both iOS and Android that Sensor Tower tends to comment on it separately. According to its figures, some $47.6B was spent on iOS games in 2020, up 25% in 2019. That means games account of 65.8% of all App Store revenue. The highest-grossing game on iOS was Honor of Kings, created by Tencent.

Sensor Tower notes that 2020 and the pandemic have driven "unprecedented growth in 2020", and that the year could signal a permanent shift in consumer needs and behavior.