It is an understatement to say the mobile app market is lucrative. According to a new report, consumer spending on apps is projected to reach $139 billion in revenue by 2021 as maturing markets see strong growth in gross app store spend per device. Increases spending on in-app purchases will also help drive up the total. The bulk of that revenue will come from Android, as all Android stores combined will leapfrog Apple's App Store.
App Annie's App Store Forecast Report says that will happen sooner than later.
"For 2017, consumer spend in Android stores is forecasted to surpass the App Store. This is driven by increasing global app installs in Google Play and third-party Android stores. However, over the next five years, Apple's comparatively affluent customer base is expected to continue to spend more revenue per device," App Annie states.
The forecast takes into account all Android app stores and not just Google Play. If looking at individual app stores, Apple's is the most lucrative. App Annie projects Apple's App Store will rake in $60 billion in gross consumer spending in 2021, maintaining its top spot. By comparison, Google Play is expected to generate $42 billion in 2021, with third-party Android app sores adding another $36 billion.
Gaming will continue to lead the charge. In 2016 alone, games represented 11 percent of time spent and 39 percent of all downloads while generating a whopping 81 percent of consumer spending in app stores. There are no signs that this will slow down. As more games head to mobile, App Annie expects games to continue generating the most revenue of any category through the next several years.
That does not mean there is no money to be made from non-gaming apps, a category that is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 25 percent. According to the report, Non-game apps will reach nearly $34 billion in revenue by 2021.