App Annie: 2021 was a record-breaking year for apps, spend hit $135 bn, downloads passed 140 bn

App and data analytics company, App Annie, has released its end of year report, providing an overview of the downloads and spend for 2021 and the apps that had the strongest growth in this period, spanning gaming, video streaming, dating and more.

The report shows that 2021 was a record breaking year with total consumer spend across iOS and Google Play leaping by nearly 25% YOY to hit $135 billion. Downloads also hit a new milestone growing 8% YOY to reach 140 billion.

The company also provided a deep dive into the apps that registered the largest growth over the last 12 months:

Video sharing and editing apps saw the highest growth in 2021

– CapCut, MX TakaTak and Moj saw the largest growth in downloads as consumers looked to develop original video content.

– Consumer spend was driven by live and content streaming apps such as YouTube, Disney+, TikTok and Twitch as consumers were seeking to both be entertained and reward their favourite live-streamers.

– In the UK, Twitch topped the video streaming breakout charts for time spent, with the more expected streaming apps (ITV Player, Disney+ etc) following closely behind.

– Business apps such as Zoom, Microsoft Office and Teams led the growth for usage as working from home and hybrid business models become a mainstay.

Hyper casual games reigned supreme for downloads

– Downloads were dominated by hyper-casual games – Bridge Race, Hair Challenge and Project Makeover.

– Core games dominated spend driven by in-app purchases – Genshin Impact and ROBLOX seeing the largest growth.

– Roblox, AmongUS, Pokemon Unite saw big increases in usage as these games allowed users to socialise in person or virtually.

Social and dating

– TikTok led the spending growth worldwide in social apps, followed by BIGO LIVE and Discord. Other notable video apps that saw the largest growth include Likee and Azar.

– Tinder topped the charts for growth in consumer spend globally among dating apps followed by Bumble whose lifetime consumer spend just surpassed $1 billion and Hinge who recently surpassed £250M in spend.

One of the big take-aways is that the global population adapted to the pandemic by embracing a mobile lifestyle. The sectors that did well were the ones that brought people closer together both virtually and in person.

Lexi Sydow, Head of Insights at App Annie