Market Data

The Global App Market Is Set to Generate $33.9 Billion in Consumer Spend for Q1 2023

Randy Nelson

Spending in apps returns to year-over-year growth as the mobile ecosystem bounces back from a dip in 2022. App downloads were also up nearly 3%.

Consumers aren’t playing around when it comes to their apps. And 2023, so far, is all the proof you’ll need. 

As the first quarter comes to a close, the mobile landscape is booming. Here’s everything you might’ve missed over the last few months when it comes to apps. 

According to our latest research, the global app market is showing signs of resiliency in the face of economic headwinds. In fact, mobile consumers are projected to spend more in app stores in Q1 2023 than in any other quarter on record reaching $33.9 billion.

We’re used to proclaiming these records – even after 15 years of analyzing the app market. But recent history shows that the trend isn’t always positive. Take one of the headlines from’s Q3 2022 Market Pulse Report that only showed $32.4 billion in consumer spending for Q3 2022. That was a slight decline year-over-year from $33.7B in Q3 2021.

We conclude that Q1 2023 represents a correction of sorts. And this has been shared equally across both mobile formats. iOS grew 4% YoY, while Google Play grew 6% — with iOS generating $21.7 billion and Google Play grossing around $12.2 billion.

But in comparison, iOS users continue to spend much more than their Android-using counterparts. iOS accounts for 65% of total app store outlay, and the figure is even higher in purely non-gaming apps, where iOS represents 71%. This sector is undoubtedly being fuelled by the soaring demand for in-app subscriptions and the emergence of hit apps that utilize them, such as Calm.

In terms of categories, Games, Entertainment and Social were the largest categories by consumer spend (on Google Play). Video Players and Editors, House & Home and Health & Fitness all had the strongest quarter-over-quarter growth at 21%, 21% and 20%, respectively.

Regionally, the US, Japan and South Korea contributed the most consumer spend.

Q1 2023 is the #2 All-Time Quarter for Downloads

The increase in consumer spend for the quarter was accompanied by a modest growth in downloads. Overall, consumers downloaded 38.2 billion apps in Q1 2023 — second only to the Q3 2022 total of 38.7 billion.

The biggest spike was on iOS, where estimated installs grew 12% YoY to approximately 9.1 billion. On Google Play, installs grew 1% YoY to 29.1 billion.

India and Brazil were the two largest markets by downloads, while Turkey, Russia, and Iraq saw the biggest upwards movement versus 2022 Q4 on Google Play. Whereas on iOS, China and the US were the top markets by downloads with the US, Brazil and Japan posting the most quarterly growth.

On a category basis, Games, Utilities and Photo & Video were the largest by downloads on iOS. Meanwhile Games, Health & Fitness and Travel had the biggest growth of absolute downloads QoQ. 

For percentage growth the top performers were Health & Fitness, Navigation and Catalogs. They posted QoQ rises of 17%, 15% and 12%, respectively.

On Google Play, Games,Tools and Entertainment led by downloads, while Games, Productivity, and Education posted the most absolute increase in downloads. Productivity, Books & Reference and Education displayed respective quarterly growth of 12%, 10% and 9%, respectively.

ByteDance Cements its Dominance Thanks to TikTok and CapCut

The apps that are leading the market towards the greatest spend (and second greatest download period) are not very surprising. There’s never much movement in the top apps charts, which are dominated by the unicorn social, chat and streaming apps – Facebook, SnapChat, WhatsApp, Netflix, etc.

That said, there was some notable yet slight movement in the Q1 2023 chart. Most notably, TikTok moved up a place to replace Instagram as the world’s most downloaded app. The app also peaks the consumer spend chart.

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March 27, 2023

Market Data

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