12.9-inch iPad ProSource: Joseph Keller/iMore

What you need to know

  • iPad app downloads saw a massive spike in Q1 of 2020.
  • Sensor Tower says apps passed 1.1 billion downloads worldwide and $2 billion in spending.
  • It would mark the first quarter of year on year growth in the market since Q4 of 2013.

A report from Sensor Tower suggests that iPad app downloads have spiked sharply due to COVID-19.

A blog post states:

Driven by a surge in use and adoption of the device during the COVID-19 pandemic, quarterly first-time downloads of apps for Apple's iPad surpassed 1.1 billion worldwide in Q1 2020, marking the first year-over-year growth in this metric since the fourth quarter of 2013 and a 40 percent increase from Q1 2019. At the same time, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data reveals that quarterly global consumer spending in iPad apps saw its largest Y/Y increase since Q4 2014 at 16 percent, while crossing the $2 billion threshold for the first quarter ever.

Ipad DownloadsSource: Sensor Tower

As you can see from the data, first-time iPad app installations have been trending generally downwards for the last 7 years. Sensor Tower notes that Q1's download figures make it the biggest quarter for iPad app downloads since Q3 of 2016 and that this time last year, the same metric was down 19% year on year.

Sensor Tower says that the growth from Q4 of last year is even more significant, showing a 52% increase on Q4 2019. In March, iPad apps saw their highest single month since February 2015.

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The report says that beyond games and entertainment, education apps were the leading driver of installations, recording 105 million worldwide, the best ever quarter for the segment, and the first time it has exceeded 100 million installs.

Whilst iPad installation has trended downwards in recent years, spending has grown in nearly every quarter, and in Q1 of 2020 consumers spent a record $2.1 billion in apps, a whopping 76% of that was on games.

The report notes the contrast to the iPhone, which has seen growth, but not like the meteoric increase on the iPad:

Comparatively, Y/Y growth in consumer adoption of iPad apps during Q1 dramatically outpaced what was seen on iPhone, although Apple's handset platform did post its biggest quarterly increase since Q2 2016. First-time iPhone app installs grew 24 percent Y/Y last quarter, compared to iPad's 40 percent growth, likely owing to both the tablet platform's consistent decrease in installs over the years and its suitability as a desktop/laptop stand-in at home, especially for younger students. Also, while iPad saw best-in-years spending growth last quarter, iPhone's was actually slightly less than its Y/Y increase for Q1 2019.

You can read the full report here.

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