AppsFlyer report finds 55% surge in consumer spend in eCommerce Apps

Marketing measurement and experience platform, AppsFlyer, has released the 2021 edition of its State of eCommerce App Marketing report, outlining key global trends to guide marketers in building a mobile-first experience that will drive engagement and sales for the upcoming festive season.

This year, retail apps are already approaching peak usage levels from the 2020 festive season. With global eCommerce installs increasing 55% on Android and 32% on iOS in 2021, and consumer spend climbing 55% overall, the Q4 holiday shopping period is expected to be record-breaking. Specifically for the UK, spend rose 57% last year, during Q4 2020, demonstrating the strong opportunity for eCommerce app marketers.

UK Insights

– App installs for 2020 are up by 72% when compared to pre-pandemic levels. App installs retained strong growth throughout the year, during the initial period of the pandemic (February – May 2020), UK installs peaked at +151%. For Q1 2021 in particular, app installs doubled against Q1 2020 figures. This signifies that growth from the first wave of the pandemic has been sustained.

– Non-organic installs (NOIs) surged 133% during the first wave of the pandemic (March-May 2020). NOIs also surged by 44% in the lead up to the 2020 festive shopping period (Sep-Nov 2020) as marketers capitalised on consumer’s increased demand for eCommerce apps.

– Remarketing has remained 3x higher than pre-pandemic levels (comparing June 2021 w/ January 2020), even allowing for a post-iOS 14 drop.

– In-app purchase revenue rose by 57% during the Q4 2020 holiday shopping season. Consumer spending was cautious at the beginning of the pandemic, however after a period of rapid install growth in March and April, revenue grew 113% between May and June 2020.

– CPIs rocketed by 398% between March 2020 to March 2021. The growth of eCommerce apps has come at a cost. With increased demand for advertising inventory driven by new entrants, increased spend from existing players looking to double down, as well as significant pre-iOS 14 rollout media buying activity, CPIs have grown substantially during the last 18 months.

– Between November 2020 and February 2021, app install fraud rates in the UK nosedived by 73% signalling the industry’s ability to fight fraud as demand increases.

– The UK is now the fourth largest market for iOS eCommerce apps, representing 4.8% of global installs.

Global Insights

– Global eCommerce app installs are rising by almost 50% in 2021, but Apple’s ATT enforcement is prompting a downturn. Between January and July of 2021, the number of users who downloaded an eCommerce app increased by 48% overall, with Android gaining 55% and iOS 32% year-over-year.

However, the enforcement of Apple’s ATT framework in late April 2021 has affected install patterns by platform. Whereas Android increased by 5% between May and July, iOS installs dropped 12%. This is most likely due to the loss of non-organic installs driven by the rising cost of media and limited data for optimisation available to marketers.

– Global eCommerce app install ad spend hit $5.4B in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 alone, with US commanding a third of global app install spend at over $1.8 billion. Mobile app marketers are spending billions to acquire users in a highly competitive global market, with the US leading the way thanks to its scale but mostly because of a high cost of media.

– iOS remarketing down 30% as Android sees 10% rise. iOS remarketing in 2021 has taken a hit, with marketers increasing their remarketing budgets on Android. However, numbers are still up year-over-year as marketers are heavily targeting consenting users and the 30% of users who have yet to upgrade to iOS 14.5 (as of July 2021).

To make the most of the prime festive season, retailers should put mobile, and particularly mobile apps, at the heart of their Q4 strategy. For marketers, this means ensuring a smooth transition from mobile web to app, where performance is significantly higher. It also means bringing the communication with existing buyers to wherever they are, and making sure they use deep linking to reach the right destination within the app smoothly and contextually.

Shani Rosenfelder, Head of Content & Mobile Insight, AppsFlyer