Liftoff and App Annie report: Finance Apps were downloaded 4.6 billion times in 2020

App marketing firm, Liftoff, has released its annual Mobile Finance Apps Report in partnership with App Annie. The report analysed 57 billion ad impressions across 81 million clicks, 12 million app installs, and 20 million first-time events in 188 apps throughout 2020.

Key findings

In a year characterized by intense economic uncertainty, demand grew for finance apps across investing, banking, cash transfers and government aid. Finance apps were downloaded 4.6 billion times in 2020 (up 15% year-over-year), outpacing overall downloads by 2x.

Downloads increased in April globally amid widespread shutdowns, with the most significant surge occurring in December: a clear indication of the pandemic’s lasting impact on finances. Time spent in these apps also spiked dramatically: 16.3 billion more hours were spent in finance apps in 2020, up 45% year-over-year (outside of China, where legislation in the peer-to-peer lending space limited use).

Notably, users took to fintech apps with gusto, with fintech outperforming even the best banking apps by a factor of up to 10.8x. Investment and trading apps like Robinhood were among the top downloaded finance apps worldwide as many consumers took to day trading in the COVID era.

This trend was particularly pronounced in the US, where stay-at-home orders were widespread and generally lengthy: US mobile users spent 135% more time in the top five investment and trading apps in 2020 compared to 2019. Canada and Mexico were close behind, with a 115% spike in time spent, and South Korea saw the greatest increase in the Asia Pacific region (APAC), with 120% growth.

Interest wasn’t exclusive to any one region – global time spent in these top five apps grew 55% year-over-year.

Post-IDFA Android offers opportunities for finance App marketers

iOS has historically been a reliable choice for mobile markers, with high revenue and generally strong retention rates across the board. But in the finance app category, Android seems to be the platform to beat, with its performance in 2020 eclipsing that of iOS. The platform’s performance in the finance app category eclipsed iOS in 2020, with a cost-per-install ranging from 4.5 to an astounding 7x less expensive than that of iOS.

At the same time, Android users are as much as 2x more likely to convert. With IDFA on the horizon and many marketers considering their options to drive the most value with their marketing efforts, Android offers finance app marketers a valuable opportunity.

COVID-19 and the ensuing financial uncertainty resulted in users spending massive amounts of time on finance apps throughout 2020, and more readily activating in-app, with rates up a third to 25.1%. With many exploring new financial interests, marketers may want to consider tactics that offer resources to nascent users, encouraging retention and increasing confidence in in-app actions.

Mark Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Liftoff