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Big spenders are splashing $100 per year on the App Store on average

App Store on iPhone
App Store on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • 2019 was a bumper year for App Store spending.
  • Users spent $100 on average.
  • That covers IAP and premium apps.

2019 was a big year for the App Store, with new figures showing that the average American iPhone user spent $100 on apps and in-app purchases during the year. That's the most ever.

The numbers come following a Sensor Tower study with the number increasing considerably over 2018. And those numbers keep on increasing despite the saturation experienced in the smartphone market.

In-app spending per U.S. iPhone grew 27 percent year-over-year in 2019, compared to 36 percent between 2017 and 2018, owing to continued market maturation and growing saturation of smartphone ownership among consumers. This Y/Y growth was considerable nonetheless, and speaks to the sustained health of the iOS ecosystem in the U.S. where spending continues to increase at a rate outpacing adoption of devices by first-time users.

Mobile games make up the lion's share of the spending, as you'd expect. But the split probably isn't as severe as expected with gaming making up 54% of all spending.

App Store Spending Categories

App Store Spending Categories (Image credit: Sensor Tower)

Mobile games represented close to 54 percent of U.S. per-device spending in apps last year at an estimated $53.80, an amount that grew 22 percent Y/Y from $44 in 2018. This growth mirrors the 22 percent increase in per-device spending on games seen between 2017 and 2018, when the amount grew from an average of $36. Consumer spending in iOS games per active iPhone has increased nearly $31 from an average of $23 in 2015, an increase of almost 134 percent.

Entertainment sits just behind gaming, likely helped by in-app purchases for services like Netflix and such.

With Apple relying more and more on its services, results like this will be welcomed by those working on the App Store team. Although they probably aren't waiting for Sensor Tower to tell them how their numbers are looking.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

1 Comment
  • I don't really know how sales tax works in the US, but $100 without tax is about £85 here, and that's not much really if you're buying paid apps. Admittedly I won't spend that every year, but some years I will. I've got some really fantastic apps that I've accumulated. The thing is, they're not subscription apps, so once it's paid, it's paid and I don't spend a penny/cent more. It's the whole concept of spend more in the short-term, and less in the long-term