- The U.S. led international spending on mobile apps, doling out almost $130 million across Google Play and the Apple App Store over the Christmas holiday.
- Consumers spent 35% more on mobile apps over the holiday season in 2020 than the year before.
- Tik Tok was the year's top non-gaming app, hitting over 2.6 billion installations.
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Mobile apps were one of 2020's biggest winners, surpassing a record-setting $100 billion worldwide through November, according to a report from Sensor Tower.
Last year, global consumer spending trends shifted, as stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus forced people to change the way they gamed, shopped, and entertained themselves.
Gaming apps generated the most revenue, while mobile shopping rose 25% from 2019. Streaming and entertainment shifted to its smallest screen yet, with apps like Tik Tok and Disney+ at the forefront.
The US led spending on mobile apps over Christmas. December saw a spike in revenue as consumers worldwide spent more money on mobile apps over the holiday season than any year on record. Spending rose nearly 35% from the previous year, as consumers turned to mobile gaming to fill their vacation time. Tencent's Honor of Kings led the category with over 100 million daily users in 2020.
Similarly, Black Friday set a single day record for mobile app spending. Shopping apps for companies like Walmart and Amazon flourished with low store capacity limits, decreasing store hours and lockdown measures encouraging shoppers to stay out of the store and shop online instead. In November, in-store traffic dropped more than 50% from 2019 according to estimates from Adobe Analytics.
Last year also saw Tik Tok take over social media, becoming the top non-gaming app and a significant platform for influencers and shopping. Influencers like Charli D'Amelio and Addison Rae gained momentum as their subscribers rose exponentially over the course of the year.
The platform sought to extend its reach by teaming up with Shopify in October to introduce shopable video ads. The app has reached 2.6 billion installations despite efforts by the Trump administration to ban it.
As the pandemic wreaked havoc on movie theaters across the globe, entertainment companies sought to shift strategies and moved to highlight mobile streaming platforms with emerging services like Peacock, HBO Max and the short-lived Quibi.
Sensor Tower anticipates mobile streaming platforms have only just begun to pick up steam with more services to come in 2021, including Paramount+ and Discovery+.
While last year saw an unprecedented shift in consumer spending on mobile apps due to the impact of the pandemic, many of these trends are expected to carry into the new year, with online shopping and mobile streaming set to thrive as continued global lockdowns force customers to stay at home.