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Global App Revenue Topped $18 Billion Last Quarter, Up 23% Year-Over-Year

Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data reveals that Apple's App Store earned 92% more than Google Play in Q3 2018.

Q3 2018's Mobile App Revenue and Downloads Hero Image

Global consumer spending on the App Store and Google Play totaled $18.2 billion during the third quarter, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data reveals. This marks a 22.7 percent increase over the $14.8 billion we estimate was spent on both stores during the year-ago quarter. At the same time, Apple has expanded its commanding lead in app monetization over Google, with the App Store earning nearly 94 percent more than Google Play during the quarter, the widest revenue disparity since at least 2014 between the two platforms.

Worldwide Mobile App Revenue and Downloads

Approximately 66 percent of mobile app revenue last quarter was generated by Apple's App Store, totaling $12 billion and representing year-over-year growth of 23.3 percent for the platform, up from $9.7 billion in 3Q17. Google Play spending reached an estimated $6.2 billion worldwide, excluding China, a 21.5 percent increase over the year-ago quarter's $5.1 billion spent.

Q3 2018 Mobile App Revenue

App installs grew 10.9 percent across both stores combined last quarter to 27.1 billion, up from 24.4 in 3Q17. Rapid adoption of lower-cost Android devices in developing nations continued to give Google Play an edge in terms of app install growth last quarter at 14.3 percent, climbing from 17.1 to 19.5 billion year-over-year. On iOS, new app installs reached 7.6 billion for the quarter, a 3.1 percent increase year-over-year from September 2017 when the platform saw 7.3 billion first-time downloads.

Q3 2018 Mobile App Downloads

Netflix was the world's top grossing non-game mobile app for the third consecutive quarter in Q3, bringing in an estimated $243.7 million across both platforms from in-app subscriptions. It led the likes of Tinder and Tencent Video, which retained their No. 2 and No. 3 rankings, respectively, from the second quarter.

Q3 2018 Top Non-Game Mobile Apps by Revenue and Downloads

Facebook again topped the global app download chart with four of the top five apps for Q3. Bytedance's short-video app TikTok, which absorbed social karaoke app Musical.ly during the quarter, ranked No. 4 worldwide, having grown 15 percent quarter-over-quarter and 440 percent year-over-year.

Worldwide Mobile Game Revenue and Downloads

Mobile games spending increased 14.9 percent year-over-year during the quarter to $13.8 billion or 76 percent of all app revenue worldwide across both platforms. The App Store accounted for about 62 percent ($8.5 billion) of this revenue and grew 12.8 percent from the year-ago quarter. Google Play's gaming revenue grew more substantially at 18.4 percent and, at $5.3 billion, represented 38 percent of all money spent in mobile games on both stores during Q3.

Q3 2018 Mobile Game Revenue

Downloads of mobile games grew 2.2 percent year-over-year last quarter to total 9.5 billion on the two platforms. Google Play saw the majority of those—7.2 billion—which represented about 76 percent of all mobile game installs and grew 2.4 percent from seven billion in the year-ago quarter. Game downloads on the App Store grew 1.6 percent to 2.3 billion, up from 2.2 billion in 3Q17.

Q3 2018 Mobile Game Downloads

Gaming revenue was once again led by titles from Asia, with Tencent's MOBA Honor of Kings retaining the crown of the world's top grossing app, game or otherwise. Niantic's Pokémon GO was the top ranked Western made game by revenue, while Fortnite from Epic Games ranked at No. 9 despite not being available on Google Play.

Q3 2018 Top Mobile Games by Revenue and Downloads

Game downloads continued to be led by hyper casual titles, including Helix Jump from France's Voodoo. In fact, seven of the top 10 games fell into this category, with one hard-core title, Tencent's PUBG Mobile, breaking into the top five.

Sensor Tower will have further analysis of Q3's top publishers, apps, and trends soon.

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: October 2018