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US iPhone users spent an average of $138 on the App Store in 2020

Credit: James Yarema/Unsplash

U.S. iPhone users spent an average of $138 on apps in 2020, an increase of 38% year-over-year, and that figure is poised to increase in 2021.

Per-user spending on Apple's App Store saw the greatest annual growth in 2020 since 2016, when it hit 42% year-over-year, according to a Sensor Tower report. Overall, smartphone users spent a combined $111 billion on iOS and Android apps during the year, the firm said.

The surge in 2020 was attributed to stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic, which drove remote work, play, and education. Sensor Tower also projects that consumer app spending will hit an average of $180 in 2021. Again, it attributes the lift to the global health crisis.

As far as specific categories that saw the highest boost, gaming took the top spot. Per-device spend on mobile games grew 43% in 2020 compared to 2019. Consumers spent an average of $76.80, up from $53.80.

Other categories that saw exceptional growth during 2020 included entertainment, photo & video, social networking, and lifestyle. Some of those increases were because of apps like TikTok, YouTube, and Twitch.

The Sensor Tower report on Thursday comes on the heels of similar data from App Annie. That report showed app spending growth of 40% and a higher overall spending amount, though it included data from some third-party Android app stores in China.