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As COVID-19 still runs rampant, app spent surges worldwide
More screen time than ever for many of us, but will the trend continue post-pandemic?
It's no secret that the pandemic has affected the tech industry in different ways but, truth be told, so many of those have so far been negative that it makes for a nice change to come across a few positive ones. App developers, for instance, may be going through everything ugly about the COVID-19 as the rest of us but they are at least making a bit more money than they would otherwise: according to analytics firm App Annie, during Q1 of this year global spending on apps for smartphones and tablets was up no less than 40% (!) compared to the same period last year, before the pandemic fully hit the US and Europe.
Not only is this increase in app spending quite significant, but it's interesting to note that it comes on top of a 20% increase that App Annie had already reported this time last year compared to Q1 2019. Such a big jump in app spending in two short years will probably not be happening again if COVID-19 is successfully contained and social life returns back to normal by next April, but it's safe to say that it will act as a catalyst for an increase in app sales overall as more people get accustomed to buying them.
According to App Annie's calculations, the total spending on apps and in-app purchases on a global scale during these first three months of the year exceeded the 32 billion dollar mark, a record for the industry. As one would expect, most of the Top-20 app titles were games: iOS users spent upwards of 13 billion dollars on those while Android users shelled out about 9 billion dollars. Apps of streaming services such as Netflix or Disney Plus also saw an uptick in downloads, for obvious reasons, although many consumers probably paid for those subscriptions through other means (not through the apps themselves).
During the first quarter of 2021 games populating Top Ten slots in consumer spent are unsurprisingly many of the most popular ones regardless of the pandemic - such as Roblox, Honor of Kings, Pokemon Go and Genshin Impact - while games with the most active users include famous titles such as Among Us, PUBG Mobile, Candy Crush Saga and Call of Duty Mobile.
With the COVID-19 virus still very much active worldwide for some time to come it will be interesting to see how the first "full" pandemic quarter of 2021 compares to the 2020 one, app-spending wise. A comparative increase in sales might not be as sharp but, then again, who knows? Most of us, if asked last spring, actually believed that we'd have a “normal” summer in 2021, no?
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