Global consumer spending in top 100 subscription apps climbed 41% in 2021

Worldwide consumer expenditure in mobile apps reached new highs yet again in 2021 and Sensor Tower data reveals that mobile users are spending more than ever in subscription apps.

The top 100 non-game subscription-based apps saw their revenue grow 41 per cent year-over-year from $13 billion to $18.3 billion globally. This was seven percentage points greater than in 2020, when spending in these apps climbed 34 percent YoY from $9.7 billion in 2019, reports Sensor Tower.

Revenue from the top 100 earning non-game subscription apps represented about 14 per cent of the $131.6 billion that consumers spent on in-app purchases last year in both non-game apps and mobile games. This was up from when the cohort represented about 11.7 per cent of total spending in 2020.

In Q4 2021, 86 of the top 100 earning non-game apps worldwide offered subscriptions, down slightly from 87 in Q4 2020 and 89 in Q4 2019.

The growth of subscription app revenue in the US mirrored the global trend as its consumers spent $8.5 billion in the top 100 non-game mobile apps offering subscriptions in 2021. This was up 44 per cent per cent year-over-year from $5.9 billion in 2020, which had grown 28 percent YoY from $4.6 billion in 2019.

US consumers spent $40.7 billion on in-app purchases in 2021, about 21 percent of which were in the top subscription apps. This was up more than 3 percentage points from 2020 when the top subscription apps generated $5.9 billion or about 17.9 per cent of the $33 billion overall spend.

In Q4 2021, 90 out of the top 100 earning apps in the US included subscriptions. This was down slightly from 91 in Q4 2020 and 93 in Q4 2019.


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