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Q1 2024 Digital Market Index: Find Out Which Apps Drove Record Spend in Q1

Global consumer spend in apps (excluding mobile games) climbed nearly 20% year-over-year. Discover which apps created this growth – and where the opportunities are for the rest of the year.

Follow-Up Blog Q1 2024 Index-Report Resource-Page R1

The mobile market continues to provide seemingly limitless opportunity, with global consumer spend in apps (excluding mobile games) surpassing $15.5 billion for the first time ever in Q1 2024. This was up 19% year-over-year and 4% from the record set in the previous quarter. Sensor Tower’s Digital Market Index report dives into the categories and apps that powered this record-breaking quarter.

While consumer spend continues to climb, competition for new downloads remains fierce as mobile markets mature across the globe. App downloads held steady at 21.2 billion, right around the total from each of the prior four quarters. Even though this continues a steady decline from the 22 billion downloads seen in Q1 2021, downloads are still up 16% compared to Q1 2019 before the pandemic-related spike in 2020. 

Opportunities Abound! Consumer Spend Increased in All Top App Categories

Each of the top 10 app categories had positive year-over-year growth in consumer spend – with nine of the 10 achieving double-digit growth. Productivity apps, led by Google One, had the highest growth, while the category was also boosted by buzz surrounding generative AI apps including ChatGPT.

The most popular apps vary by market. For example, Entertainment apps like TikTok and top streaming apps such as Max and Disney+ continue to lead in the United States. Top app Google One helped the  Productivity category jump three spots from a year ago in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Social Networking apps like Tango, Azar, and LivU were among the leaders by spend in Turkey. Check out the chart above to find the growth opportunities in your market.

Discover Which Apps Broke Through in Q1 2024 – and How to Emulate Their Success

Looking at the top breakout apps by global consumer spend, no trend is clearer than the emergence of short-form drama streaming apps. These apps, already popular in China, are starting to gain steam in the United States. ReelShort, DramaBox, and ShortMax each ranked among the top 10 breakout apps by global revenue growth, and GoodShort was in the top 10 in the United States.

Meta had the top three apps by breakout downloads in Q1 2024. These apps had a nice bounce back in some of the largest mobile markets like India, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Another app to watch will be Max as it continues to roll out its rebrand of the HBO Max app. The rebrand in the United States last year proved to be a success, leading to its rebrand in the rest of the Americas including Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina in February 2024. We’ll continue to monitor as it continues to add more countries in Europe in Q2 and launches in APAC later in the year.

Want More Insights on the Digital Economy? Read the Full Report

Read the Q1 2024 Digital Market Index report highlighting the market leaders in mobile and digital advertising, spanning 21 markets in a dynamic, interactive format covering:

  • Top Markets - strong growth in Japan as North America and Europe show growth opportunities for publishers

  • Top Categories - Consumer spend increases in ALL top app categories with many seeing 30% growth

  • Top Apps - TikTok still leads by global consumer spend, but falls in downloads

  • Top Mobile Games - Monopoly GO! breaks records in Q1

  • Digital Advertising - US digital ad spend up 16% YoY

  • Retail Media Networks - Walmart and Target dominate Retail Media Networks by impressions

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Jonathan Briskman

Written by: Jonathan Briskman, Principal Market Insights Manager

Date: June 2024