The App Store generated more than $11 billion just from gaming, pushing just that category higher than the entire Google Play Store for the third quarter.
App Annie released their report on Thursday detailing how the pandemic has affected both the Apple App Store and Google Play. While both have seen increased downloads and profits, Apple holds a significant lead in total revenue despite Google's faster growth.
Overall mobile app revenue trends
During the third quarter, users continued the trend of beating year-over-year metrics due to stay-at-home work and entertainment needs. There were 33 billion new apps downloaded globally during the quarter with over 180 billion hours of app use amongst consumers.
Most notably is spending, up 20% year-over-year despite the pandemic affecting the economy, totaling $28 billion in app spending. Gaming was a majority of the market spending at $20 billion with over 1 billion gaming app downloads for the quarter.
App Annie estimates that spending in the app gaming market will exceed desktop spending by 2.8x and console spending by 3.1x by the end of 2020. The numbers show that Apple will greatly benefit from this growth in the gaming market due to the amount spent in the App Store vs Google Play.
Apple's App Store market
The Apple App Store saw nearly 9 billion downloads in total, with about 2.6 billion gaming downloads overall. The total downloads metric grew by 20% year-over-year with the top contributors to growth being India and South Korea. The top markets were the U.S. and Japan as is usual.
Gaming, photo and video apps were the top categories for the App Store for the fifth straight quarter in a row. It is clear that the pandemic did not change how users engage with the App Store, just increased use of it.
Total spending hit $18 billion which is up 20% YoY. Around 35% of that spending was related to non-gaming spending, and that mostly generated by subscriptions.
Entertainment apps are proving to be the biggest earners during the pandemic. Despite the government's attempts to ban TikTok, it is the second biggest earner outside of gaming. Other apps contributing to the big spending growth include Piccoma, YouTube, and Tinder.
Apple's App Store market moves are impressive given the circumstances and show that the mobile market is thriving during the pandemic. When compared to Google's earnings you can see the differences in how users engage with each platform and spend their money.
Google Play's market
Google continues to be the largest in terms of numbers and market share, though it still doesn't put that market share to use. Despite being accountable for 25 billion of the 33 billion total app downloads, Google only earned $10 billion of the $28 billion total.
Google's YoY growth in app downloads was slower than Apple's, 10% growth for Google Play vs 20% growth for iOS App Store. Google did see marked growth in spending YoY however, growing 35% vs Apple growing only 10%. This accelerated growth is mostly due to the pandemic and how users are spending money on Google's platform.
The Play Store's increase in income can be almost entirely attributed to games. Around 80% of money earned on Google Play was from gaming with growth being driven by India, Mexico, and Brazil. Google's top earners mimic Apple's with the addition of South Korea due to the prevalence of Samsung mobile.
What the numbers say
The most obvious trend is that the pandemic is driving app spending much higher than what would be expected normally. The most interesting parts of the data show how users are spending on each platform, which gives us an idea of why Apple continues to earn so much more income despite market size.
Apple's income from gaming alone is more than Google's total income which shows that though users download less games, they spend a lot more per game downloaded. About 80% of Google's app income was from gaming with around 11 billion app downloads, yet Apple's gaming market saw about $11 billion in spending despite only 2.6 billion app downloads.
Apple's ability to draw customers to spend outside of gaming was impressive too. Around $7 billion was spent on entertainment and subscription apps, which shows Apple's efforts to gain more subscription revenue is working.
The gaming market is very important on a global scale as e-sports and gaming grow during the pandemic. Apple already owns a sizable market, and as Tim Cook has stated before, is the biggest gaming market on earth. Apple is expected to have a much bigger push into gaming with advances in Apple Arcade, a custom gaming controller, and a new gaming-focused "Apple TV 6."