App StoreSource: Joe Keller / iMore

What you need to know

  • Consumer spending on the top 100 subscription apps increased 34% year-over-year in 2020.
  • Spending on the App Store almost quadrupled spending on the Play Store.

As reported by analytics firm Sensor Tower, consumer spending on the top 100 non-game subscription-based apps increased a whopping 34% YoY from $9.7 billion in 2019 to $13 billion in 2020. According to the data, these apps took up almost 10% of all in-app purchase revenue from last year.

Revenue from the top 100 earning non-game subscription apps represented about 11.7 percent of the $111 billion that consumers spent on in-app purchases last year, the same share as in 2019. In Q4 2020, 86 of the top 100 earning non-game apps worldwide offered subscriptions, down slightly from 89 in Q4 2019.

Apple's App Store also continues to dwarf the Google Play Store in spending, almost quadrupling the consumer spending on subscription apps.

Consumers have historically spent more on the App Store than on Google's marketplace, and the same holds true for subscription apps. Globally, the top 100 subscription apps on the App Store generated $10.3 billion in 2020, up 32 percent from $7.8 billion the previous year. The cohort of 100 top earners on Google Play saw $2.7 billion last year, up 42 percent Y/Y from $1.9 billion in 2019.

App Store on iPadSource: iMore

The Play Store did, however, outperform the App Store when it came to year-over-year growth for spending on subscription apps.

Looking at the U.S. App Store, consumers spent $4.5 billion in 2020 on the top 100 earning non-game apps offering subscriptions, up 25 percent from approximately $3.6 billion in 2019. While the top 100 earning subscription apps on Google Play did not generate as much revenue, they did see greater Y/Y growth. In 2020, the top Google Play subscription apps in the U.S. saw $1.4 billion spent, up 40 percent Y/Y from $1 billion.

Apple's latest changes to the App Store focus on privacy, requiring apps to display how they use user data.