Europe Holiday Season Report: App Spending Grew 17% to $40 Million on Christmas

Christmas and New Year mobile app spending had double-digit year-over-year growth in Europe, Sensor Tower data shows.

Christmas 2017 App Revenue Hero Image

The Christmas holidays are one of the hottest times of the year for mobile app spending, and that was the case in Europe as user spend on the App Store and Google Play hit $40.4 million on Christmas day, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates.

This represented year-over-year growth of 16.6 percent from $34.7 million in 2018. Growth for Europe was higher than a combined worldwide increase of 11.3 percent, reaching $277 million for the day. Overall, app spending in Europe accounted for close to 15 percent of global revenue for both stores on Christmas day.

Spending on Christmas represented approximately 3.7 percent of all revenue generated from apps across the App Store and Google Play in December in Europe, which amounted to nearly $1.1 billion. This was roughly level Y/Y from 2018 when Christmas spending made up 3.9 percent of all December’s $890 million revenue.

The Games category generated the lion’s share of Christmas day revenue, accumulating $28.6 million, or 70.7 percent of the total. Mobile games spending increased by 11.7 percent Y/Y from $25.6 million in 2018.

European consumer spending in apps on Christmas 2019

Interestingly, non-gaming app revenue grew faster than Games, having accounted for $11.9 million, or 26.2 percent of all mobile app spending on Christmas 2018, growing 30.4 percent Y/Y from $9.1 million.

Social category apps, which include platforms such as TikTok and LINE, accounted for the largest portion of non-gaming spend at a combined $1.6 million. Social represented 2.2 percent of all user spend on Christmas Day on Google Play, while the category accounted for 5.3 percent of revenue on the App Store, just behind Entertainment with 6 percent.

Across all categories, Germany proved to be the most lucrative European country for mobile app publishers on Christmas Day, generating $8.3 million in revenue. Great Britain was No. 2, accumulating $6.8 million, while France ranked No. 3, with users spending $4.4 million.

The Apple App Store accounted for 57.7 percent, or $23.3 million, of mobile app spending in Europe on Christmas day 2019, up 18.5 percent Y/Y. Google Play, meanwhile, generated $17.1million, up 14.1 percent Y/Y.

Christmas Week Mobile App Spending

The week from December 25 to 31 continues to be a potentially lucrative one for publishers, as consumers take advantage of special offers, treat themselves, and spend Christmas gift money.

During this time, users spent $268.5 million, up 19.5 percent Y/Y from $224.6 million during Christmas week 2018, and accounting for 24.9 percent of all December 2019 revenue.

Through this period, Gaming accounted for $182.2 million, or 67.9 percent of all app spending. This was an increase of 14 percent Y/Y from $159.8 million in 2018, when Gaming took up a 71.1 percent share of spending.

European consumer spending in apps for Dec. 25-31 2019

Non-gaming app revenue once again grew fastest, rising by 33.1 percent Y/Y from $64.8 million in 2018 to $86.3 million in 2019.

Entertainment category apps, which include YouTube and Netflix, were the biggest revenue generators between Christmas and New Year, accumulating $11.3 million across both stores. During this period, the category accounted for 6.6 percent of user spending on the App Store, and just 1.2 percent on Google Play, where it ranked as No. 8 in the top grossing rankings.

Germany once again generated the most revenue of any country in Europe, with both app stores grossing a combined $51.4 million in revenue. Great Britain was close behind in No. 2, racking up $50.1 million from user spending, while France rounded out the top three with $30.3 million.

In total for the week, App Store users spent $150 million, or 55.9 percent of all revenue generated across both stores. Google Play generated $118.5 million in revenue, or 44.1 percent of all spending.

New Year’s Day Mobile App Spending

Capping off the holiday period for Europe was New Year’s Day, which saw user spending rise 22 percent from $32.2 million on January 1, 2019 to $39.3 million in 2020.

Gaming accounted for $26.1 million, or 66.4 percent of all revenue in the region, leaving 33.6 percent of user spending for non-gaming apps—marking the highest share for the latter of any period we’ve analyzed here. Non-gaming spending grew by 35.5 percent Y/Y compared to Gaming’s increase of 16.1 percent Y/Y.

European consumer spending in apps on New Year’s 2020

As with Christmas Day, Social apps were the most popular non-gaming category on New Year’s Day, generating a combined $1.6 million. On the App Store, the Social Networking category accounted for 6.1 percent of all user spending, while the Social category represented 2.6 percent of revenue generated on Google Play.

For many, January 1 is a time to kick off some New Year’s Resolutions, which may explain a jump in Health & Fitness app revenue. User spending in the category hit $1.3 million on New Year’s Day, up 58.8 percent from Christmas Day and up 31 percent Y/Y.

Germany took the most revenue in Europe for New Year’s Day, generating $7.3 million in revenue across both app stores. Great Britain ranked No.2 with $7.2 million, more than it grossed on Christmas Day, while France took the No.3 spot with $4.6 million, which was also greater than user spending on Christmas.

Overall, on New Year’s Day the App Store accounted for $22.7 million, or 57.8 percent of the total revenue. Google Play, meanwhile, generated $16.6 million, or 42.2 percent of user spending.

For a worldwide perspective on Christmas Day and December 2019, you can read our analysis on Global App Spending for the holidays here. You can also dive into our in-depth report on 2019 in full here.

We’ll have a deeper analysis on Europe’s mobile market for 2019 soon.

Sensor Tower's platform is an enterprise-level offering. Interested in learning more?

Craig Chapple

Written by: Craig Chapple, Mobile Insights Strategist, EMEA

Date: January 2020