The surge in mobile commerce (m-commerce) over the past two years has helped retail apps to become one of the fastest-growing categories in Europe, and 2021 represented a period of especially strong year-over-year growth. Sensor Tower's State of Retail Apps in Europe report, available now as a free download, contains insights for Europe's top mobile retail apps, including consumer electronics, marketplace, and clothes & fashion, and more retail subcategories from 2019 through 2021.
In the first three quarters of 2021, installs for retail apps reached 572 million across the App Store and Google Play. The marketplace subcategory, including apps such as AliExpress and Wish, dominated the retail app download space.
Since downloads for the top retail apps have grown in 2021, user adoption also increased 15 percent in the first 10 months of 2021. Our data forecasts that European retail app installs will continue to trend upwards to reach 187 million in Q1 2022.
Fast fashion retailer SHEIN rose to No. 1 in the first half of 2021, placing it among the top 10 retail apps. SHEIN was one of the leading advertisers by total spend among other competitors in the United Kingdom, and the app's new daily downloads from March to November 2021 were correlated with Facebook ads.
SHEIN's first Black Friday-themed creative appeared over 30 days before Black Friday in 2020 and 2021. A majority of their ads earning the most impressions primarily focused on 80 percent off deals or mentioning free shipping.
Sensor Tower data shows that Nike and Adidas have ranked in the top 2 for Sportswear & Footwear app adoption since 2019 in Europe. Russia currently leads the market in terms of monthly active users, making up 18 percent of Europe's top Sportswear & Footwear monthly active users in the first 10 months of 2021.
Other countries in Eastern Europe such as Romania, Belarus, and Bulgaria were growing markets for user adoption. While Western European markets mainly downloaded Nike and Adidas, Eastern European markets were more likely to download efootwear.eu or Decathlon.
Since we've seen solid Y/Y growth in retail app trends in Europe for the first three quarters of 2021, these apps are expected to remain above pre-pandemic levels with our forecast predicting downloads to be up by 19 percent in 1Q22.
The Sensor Tower Store Intelligence and Usage Intelligence platforms unlock even deeper analysis potential around the retail app category, including key insights on app adoption trends, monthly active users for selected geographies, and more. Take a look at Pathmatics Explorer for more data on digital advertising spend and impressions.
Download the complete State of Retail Apps in Europe Report in PDF form below to see our full analysis: