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Global App Revenue Grew 35% in 2017 to Nearly $60 Billion

Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data confirms another year of massive growth for worldwide app store spending.

2017's Mobile App Revenue and Downloads Hero Image

Mobile users spent an estimated $58.6 billion on apps and games during 2017 through in-app purchases, subscriptions, and premium apps on the App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data. This represented a year-over-year increase of approximately 35 percent over 2016, when consumers spent approximately $43.5 billion across both stores.

Worldwide Mobile App Revenue and Downloads

Apple's App Store saw consumer spending of approximately $38.5 billion last year, nearly double the estimated $20.1 billion spent on Google Play, which, unlike its competitor, is not available in China. In terms of growth, this translated to a year-over-year increase of about 34.7 percent for the App Store, edging out Google Play at approximately 34.2 percent.

2017 Mobile App Revenue

Looking at global first-time app installs, these grew to approximately 91.5 billion, up about 13.5 percent from an estimated 80.7 billion in 2016.

2017 Mobile App Downloads

The growth of Google Play app downloads was more pronounced than those from Apple's store at 16.7 percent versus 6.7 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 64 billion, or about 2.3 times the App Store's estimated 28 billion.

Worldwide Mobile Game Revenue and Downloads

Turning our focus to mobile games, 2017 saw their global consumer spend increase approximately 30 percent year-over-year to an estimated $48.3 billion, which represented nearly 82 percent of all app revenue. Game revenue on the App Store and Google Play also grew at about 30 percent per store over 2016, with an estimated $30 billion spent on Apple's platform compared to approximately $18 billion on Google's store.

2017 Mobile Game Revenue

Google Play accounted for about 77 percent, or 27.2 billion of the estimated 35.5 billion mobile game downloads across both two stores in 2017, growing 17.8 percent year-over-year. By comparison, game downloads from the App Store totaled about 8.3 billion, a year-over-year increase of 5.4 percent. Overall mobile game downloads last year grew approximately 14.6 percent from 2016's total of about 31 billion.

2017 Mobile Game Downloads

Next week, we'll look at the apps, games, and publishers that drove this impressive growth as we rank the most downloaded and highest grossing of the year on the App Store and Google Play. Our next Store Intelligence Data Digest, covering both 2017 and its fourth quarter, is releasing soon and will delve even deeper into their top apps, games, publishers, and categories.

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.

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Randy Nelson

Written by: Randy Nelson, Head of Mobile Insights

Date: January 2018