The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mobile app industry and will continue to do so in the coming years,media outlet TechCrunch reported. According to the 2020-2024 market forecast revised by app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, while downloads for other applications, such as taxi and fast food, will decrease, there will be a significant increase in app downloads in industries such as telework and education, which will lead to a surge in app installations in early 2020 and beyond. But the report found that the expected downturn in COVID-19 would partly dampen revenue growth over the next few years. Nevertheless, global mobile application spending will continue to grow, even doubling by 2024.
Impact of COVID-19 on App Store Revenue
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on App Store revenue, growth remained strong. By 2024, global consumers are expected to spend $171 billion on mobile apps, more than double the $85 billion in 2019. However, the total expenditure was about $3 billion, or 2 per cent, lower than the company’s forecast spree before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Still, it’s worth noting that by 2024, even the slowest-growing areas of Apple’s App Store and Google Play will have revenues up more than 80 percent from their 2019 levels. The App Store will also reach several milestones over the next five years.
First, global mobile app spending will exceed $100 billion for the first time in 2020, up about 20 percent year-on-year to $102 billion.
Notably, the report also predicts that non-Mobile game-like apps are expected to surpass Mobile game apps for the first time by 2024, driven by growth in subscriptions, particularly for entertainment, social networking, music and lifestyle apps.
Mobile game app revenue will reach $97.8 billion, or about 41% of total consumer spending. The App Store will account for a significant portion of that, with mobile gaming revenue sending about $57 billion by 2024, compared with about $41 billion in Google Play.
Not surprisingly, the App Store will also maintain a significant lead in consumer spending by 2024, accounting for 67% of total revenue from the App Store and Google Play. It will grow at a CAGR of 15.8%, compared with 13.2% on Google Play.
By 2024, the top five countries will remain the same: China, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and Taiwan. Despite regulations on app and game distribution, China will continue to be the largest market, spending $35 billion on the App Store alone by 2024.
Effect of COVID-19 on downloads
In terms of application downloads, the report predicts that the impact of COVID-19 will continue to grow. By 2024, there will be 183.7 billion downloads, up 9 percent from the pre-COVID-19 outbreak. Most of this increase will come this year, with first-time app downloads reaching 140.3 billion, up 22% from 2019.
In addition to the increase in non-gaming apps such as education, grocery delivery or remote work applications, mobile game downloads will grow 30 percent year-on-year to 56.2 billion by 2020, compared with 10.4 percent in 2018-2019. By 2024, mobile games will account for 41% of new installations, or 74.8 billion.
Early indications are that by 2020, China will see a significant increase in downloads, especially in the gaming and education categories. In previous years, downloads declined due to government regulatory practices, such as the freezing of game authorizations.
Also due to COVID-19, there will be a similar surge in downloads in the United States this year. By 2020, downloads will increase by 27% year-on-year. But the market will grow at an annual rate of around 7% between 2021 and 2024 in 2021 and in the years that follow.
Within the forecast time frame, download growth in India and Brazil will slow as markets become more saturated, while downloads in Latin America (up 58 per cent) and asia outside China (up 82 per cent) will grow.
Another notable milestone could be in 2022, when the U.S. will leapfrog China’s App Store downloads. In recent years, the United States has been narrowing the gap, from 3.5 billion in 2017 to 1.1 billion in 2019. The United States will also continue to close the gap sometime in 2020 and 2021.
With the exception of the United States and China, the other most downloaded countries in 2024 include Japan, the United Kingdom and Russia.