App Annie: 29 billion app downloads in Q3 2018

App Annie’s latest quarterly report indicates that Q3/18 was the largest ever for app downloads with iOS gaining ground on Android, driven by photo and video apps in the main.

iOS Narrowed Download Gap

Q3 2018 saw 29 billion global combined app downloads – the largest quarter ever, up 10% year-on-year. Global consumer spend hit nearly $20 billion, up 20% year-on-year.

iOS, however, narrowed its download gap with Google Play from 160% to 145% quarter-on-quarter. India, Indonesia and Brazil were the largest contributors to Google Play download growth.

Whereas for IOS, the US and Japan were the first and third largest download markets; underpinned by emerging markets such as Vietnam and Turkey.

Content creation and consumption

Looking at drivers of growth within app categories, we see similar trends. On Google Play, entertainment apps such as video streaming apps NetflixOZEE and Sony LIV drove download growth. However, on iOS, photo and video apps such as YouTube, Tik Tok (which now includes Musical.ly) and Instagram drove the largest download growth year-on-year.

While both the entertainment and photo and video categories represent a desire for content consumption – especially video content – the latter also illustrates the collective demand for creation.

Google Play Consumer Spend Grew 25%

While the iOS App Store maintained its consumer spend lead over Google Play and grew 15% year over year, Google Play saw faster growth to reach its most lucrative quarter yet. The US, Japan and Germany were the largest markets that fuelled growth in Google Play consumer spend. In contrast, the iOS App Store growth was fuelled primarily from the US, China and the United Kingdom.

Survival of the fittest

From a category perspective, health and fitness apps ranked third in largest growth in market share year-on-year on iOS during Q3 2018. This shows that consumers are continuing to pay for app-based health and fitness services outside of the typical January bump; a clear sign that health and fitness apps have become an ongoing part of users’ regular routines.

Hyper-casual Games Dominated Downloads

Six of the top 10 Games by combined iOS and Google Play global downloads in Q3 2018 were hyper-casual games – indicating the mass appeal of mobile gaming and its power to migrate traditionally “non-gamers” to “gamers”. Pokémon GO is one such high-profile example. In Q3 2018, Pokémon GO ranked #5 by global consumer spend as seasonal events and social gameplay encouraged users back into the game and fostered richer gameplay.

Eight of the top 10 apps outside of games by global consumer spend in Q3 2018 were media streaming services that utilise in-app subscriptions. This demonstrates that consumers are increasingly choosing to make their day-to-day purchases via apps — a trend that bodes well for retail apps in the upcoming festive period.