App Store and Google Play users spent a combined $34.4 billion on mobile apps and games in the first half of this year, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates. This figure represents a year-over-year increase of 27.8 percent over the first half of 2017, when consumers spent a combined $26.9 billion on both stores.
Consumer spending on Apple's App Store reached an estimated $22.6 billion worldwide in the first half, which was about 90 percent or 1.9 times more than was spent on Google Play during the first two quarters of this year. Spending on iOS grew 26.8 percent over the same period in 2017, compared to 29.7 percent for Google Play.
Worldwide first-time app installs reached approximately 51 billion, an increase of 11.3 percent over the first half of 2017, when downloads totaled an estimated 45.8 billion across both stores. Facebook led worldwide downloads in 1H18, with its WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram ranked at the top four apps by combined installs across both platforms.
The growth of Google Play app downloads was more pronounced than those from Apple's store at 13.1 percent versus 10.6 percent, respectively, a byproduct of Android's higher rate of adoption in developing nations. Google Play downloads, which we count as the first install of an app per user account, totaled approximately 36 billion, or about 2.4 times the App Store's estimated 15 billion.
Apple's platform earned more than double the revenue of Google's with fewer than half as many downloads. App downloads grew 13.1 percent versus the same period in 2017 on the App Store, where they totaled 15 billion, a larger increase than the 10.6 percent growth experienced by Google's platform at 36 billion installs, or more than double iOS.
Spending in mobile games grew 19.1 percent in the first half of 2018 to an estimated $26.6 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play, representing about 78 percent of the total spent in apps across both stores. App Store mobile game spending reached $16.3 billion for the first two quarters of this year, growing 15.1 percent year-over-year. This is compared to $10.3 billion spent on Google play games during the period, a year-over-year increase of 26 percent.
Worldwide game downloads totaled 15 billion in the first half on Google Play, representing 77 percent of all new mobile game installs for the period between the two stores, growing 10.3 percent year-over-year. Game downloads on the App Store grew slightly more at 14.1 percent versus the first half of 2017 to an estimated 4.5 billion.
We'll return later this week with rankings of the top apps, games, and publishers by revenue and downloads on both stores for the first half of 2018. Then, our upcoming Store Intelligence Data Digest for Q2 2018 will explore last quarter's top apps, games, publishers, and categories. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to learn about these and our other latest insights as they're published.
Note: The revenue estimates contained in this report are not inclusive of local taxes, in-app advertising, or in-app user spending on mobile commerce, e.g., purchases via the Amazon app, rides via the Uber app, or food deliveries via the GrubHub app. Refunds are also not reflected in the provided figures.