Mobile App Industry Sees New Record Highs in Q3 2020

According to the Q3 2020 reports by Sensor Tower and App Annie, the mobile app industry continues the overwhelming growth. Check out the latest data.

October 16, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic persists, making people all over the world adhere to social distancing measures and restrictions, the mobile industry enjoys new record highs. The fast growth typical for the global app market turned into a surge earlier this year with the first COVID-19 cases and lockdowns, which continued in the third quarter of 2020 according to new reports from leading app intelligence firms App Annie and Sensor Tower.

Without more ado, let's look at the fresh app market statistics and analytics published just about now in October and find out how the key trends unfold in the mobile industry.

App Revenue & Downloads in Q3 2020

Sensor Tower was the first to share the Q3 2020 figures. According to their latest estimates made public on October 1st, consumers spent a total of $29.3 billion in mobile apps (up 32% from $22.2 billion in Q3 2019) and performed 36.5 billion first-time downloads (up 23.3% from $29.6 billion in Q3 2019) across the App Store and Google Play, in the third quarter alone.

The breakdown by marketplace is as follows. Sensor Tower says global consumer spending on the App Store was $19.0 billion (up 31% from $14.5 billion in Q3 2019), which is almost twice as much as on Google Play where premium apps, subscriptions, and in-app purchases earned $10.3 billion (up 33.8% from $7.7 billion in Q3 2019).

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In new app installs during the third quarter of 2020, conversely, Google's store kept the overall lead with 28.3 billion first-time downloads (up 31% from 21.6 billion in Q3 2019), which is more than triple the 8.2 billion installs on Apple's app marketplace (up only 2.5% from 8.0 billion in Q3 2019).

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App Annie saw similar trends. According to its analysts, consumer spending reached over $28 billion in Q3 2020 across the two stores, including $18 billion on the App Store (up 20% from last year) and more than $10 billion on Google Play.

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New app downloads are reported by App Annie to have risen up to 34 billion globally, including 9 billion on the App Store (up 20% from Q3 2019) and 25 billion on Google Play (up 10% from Q3 2019).

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Top Grossing Apps in Q3 2020 (Sensor Tower)

Troubles in India and the United States could not prevent TikTok from staying at the first position on the list of the top grossing apps worldwide across both app marketplaces, according to Sensor Tower. The revenue the highest earning mobile app generated in July through September this year was up 800% from Q3 2019.

YouTube went second, with the 59% revenue growth year-over-year.

The revenue of Tinder, the top grossing app overall in July through September 2019, grew by 5% in Q3 2020 compared to last year and this time ranked only third.

The leaders are followed in the top 10 highest-earning non-game apps in Q3 2020 by Tencent Video (up 42% from Q3 2019), Disney+, IQIYI, Piccoma, BIGO LIVE, and Google One.

Check out the top 10 grossing non-game apps by app store according to Sensor Tower in the picture below.

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Most Downloaded Apps in Q3 2020 (Sensor Tower)

TikTok is reported by Sensor Tower analysts to have become the best non-game app by downloads as well, globally. Thanks to the 8% growth in new installs compared to last year, it managed to win back the first place overall lost to Zoom in the second quarter.

Facebook was the second top app by downloads in Q3 2020, with a slight 2% decline.

Zoom, WhatsApp, and Instagram took the 3rd, 4th, and 5th places on the chart respectively. Google Meet, Snack Video, Messenger, Telegram, and Snapchat closed the top ten.

The picture below also displays the ten most downloaded non-game apps separately for Apple's App Store and Google Play.

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Top Apps of Q3 2020 (App Annie)

App Annie's rankings are similar but not identical. Look at its top apps lists below. Don't miss out on the top 10 most used apps (by monthly active users) where the first four positions are occupied by Facebook's apps.

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Time Spent in Mobile Apps in Q3 2020

According to App Annie, mobile app usage in the third quarter of 2020 increased by 25% year-over-year and reached a record high of more than 180 billion monthly average hours.

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This growth was largely determined by surges in some countries, including Indonesia (up 40% from Q3 2019), India, Brazil, Russia (all up 30%), and Italy (25%).

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More Insights

If you want to learn more about the state of mobile apps in Q3 2020, see the full reports by App Annie and Sensor Tower.

For insights into mobile games, check out the same report by Sensor Tower and App Annie's special paper on gaming apps.