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Consumers Spent More Than $101 Billion on Mobile Apps in 2018

Consumers spent about $101 billion on mobile apps in 2018, according to mobile data and analytics company App Annie.

Mobile games accounted for about 74% of the total consumer spending last year and was the fastest growing sector of the overall gaming market, beating consoles, PC/Mac, and handheld gaming, App Annie said in its “The State of Mobile 2019” report. While non-gaming apps only made up 26% of the total spend, that number was up from 18% in 2016 largely due to the growth of in-app subscriptions.

Battle royale and hyper casual titles dominated the global gaming market last year, blurring the line between mobile and consoles. “The prominence of battle royale gaming, notable ‘PUBG Mobile,’ ‘Fortnite,’ ‘Rules of Survival,’ and ‘Free Fire,’ was the clearest example of this, and highlights just how powerful mobile devices have become,” App Annie said. “Mobile gaming tastes in China, Japan, and South Korea reflect the prevalent competitive online gaming culture in these markets. The popularity of battle royale games in 2018 helped these markets move further toward the hard core end of the gaming spectrum.”

Despite the proliferation of battle royale titles, games like “Candy Crush Saga,” Pokémon Go,” and “HQ Trivia” retained a stronghold among Western Markets. “‘Pokémon Go’ popularized location-based AR gaming in 2016, and two years later still remained one of the most used games in the world, due in part to feature innovations like social gaming, peer-vs.-peer trainer battling, and events,” App Annie said. “Launching in 2017, ‘HQ Trivia’ captivated North American audiences with live appointment gaming in 2018 — a trend copied by other companies.”

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China, the U.S., and Japan remain the top mobile gaming markets, accounting for 75% of consumer spending last year. In mature markets like the U.S., people spent nearly three hours per day in mobile apps in 2018.

“Daily time spent on mobile is fueled in part by cumulative micro-moments — periodic sessions throughout the day where consumers check their emails, browse news articles, or check their banking,” App Annie said. “Mobile’s on-the-go nature has enabled widespread growth in this type of consumer behavior. It also includes significant time spent playing mobile games — which are the leading form of gaming — streaming videos and checking social media apps. Regardless of market, mobile is the first screen.”

App Annie predicts mobile gaming will reach 60% market share of consumer spend in 2019, up 35% from 2013.

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