Adjust: Mobile App Growth Up 31% in Q1 2021

App marketing analytics platform, Adjust, has released its annual Mobile App Trends Report, which shows mobile app growth continuing to accelerate globally in 2021. After climbing 50% across all verticals year-over-year (YoY) in 2020, app installs are up 31% YoY in the first quarter of 2021, while sessions, which increased by 30% in 2020, are up by another 4.5%.

The report — based on Adjust’s top 2,000 apps and its dataset of apps tracked across gaming, e-commerce, and fintech — analyzes long-term trends in installs, sessions, time spent in-app, retention and re-attribution rates across the globe. These insights enable developers and marketers to better understand their audience and the state of the app economy. Additional takeaways include:

Fintech apps posted the best YoY growth in installs of all verticals — 51% — in 2020.

  • Installs are up again in 2021, by 12%, compared to the 2020 average. This is no doubt buoyed by huge adoption rates for trading apps such as Robinhood, Acorns and Gatsby.
  • Fintech app sessions also boomed in 2020 — representing a significant move toward digital banking and payments. Sessions increased 85% YoY and are already up 35% in 2021.

Gaming reached new heights in 2020, particularly in hyper-casual, where installs increased 43% — compared to 26% for non-hyper casual.

  • Sessions for non-hyper casual games increased by 27% in 2020 YoY, while hyper-casual sessions increased 36%.
  • So far in 2021, hyper-casual game sessions are down 21%, but with the huge “first-lockdown” spike removed, YoY performance is roughly the same — and growing steadily, with February outperforming January by 47%.

E-commerce’s install growth was relatively small at 6% in 2020, but performed consistently throughout the year.

  • Sessions, however, grew 44% — showing just how highly engaged shoppers on mobile have become.
  • 2021 is off to a very strong start in both installs and sessions — up 11% and 14%, respectively — over their 2020 averages.
  • The vertical’s highest weeks ever for sessions were at the end of February and beginning of March 2021 — up 23% YoY.

As the mobile ecosystem becomes ever more competitive with iOS 14, apps that build data-driven and UX-focused strategies will be well-positioned to come out on top. With insights into how users behave in-app, and when they return and why, mobile marketers can create a comprehensive strategy, incorporating highly personalized campaigns and communication that build brand trust.

The app economy experienced immense growth in 2020, as people all over the world realized the benefits of mobile in many aspects of their daily lives. For mobile marketers, the potential to reach new users is at an all-time high, but so is competition. As we move through 2021, and begin a new era with iOS 14, the importance of enhancing marketing through automation and understanding how users behave in-app throughout their entire journey is more pivotal than ever.

Paul H. Müller, Co-Founder and CEO, Adjust