Surprised at how much users spend on App Stores 2021

In the third quarter of 2021, customers spent close to $33.6 billion in Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. As compared to the previous years, this presents a 15.1% increase. The trend in increased spending on apps can be partly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. A vast growth saw Apple App store and Google Play take the most significant share of the returns.

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Consumers spend money on free and paid apps in the App Store

 For most apps, in-app purchases increased in 2021 since more people spent their time indoors and were spending heavily on applications.

Buying upgrades was sometimes deemed necessary to make progress within a game, which led to growth. In Q1 alone, $32 billion was spent on in-app purchases alone.

This is quite a considerable amount considering the cost of individual in-app purchase items in many games. The average user is known to spend $0.50 per month on the in-app purchases for an app, and Asian consumers spent 40% more on in-app purchases than the rest of the world.

Consumers spend money on free and paid apps in the App Consumers spend money on free and paid apps in the App, Source: SensorTower

Consumers were also keen on purchasing applications, and in the first half of 2021 alone, it is reported that consumers globally spent $41.5 billion on app purchases. This is the total amount spent on paid apps during this period and presents a massive increase compared to the previous year.

The spending of users rose significantly as most of their time was spent indoors, and the apps were one of the main ways to pass their time. Games and apps were in high demand, and the users were also more likely to try out new games than in the past.

Users trying out new games and experimenting with various app store features represent how the number of paid apps increased in 2021. The app store also saw an increase in the quality of apps that were being developed for the Apple platform, and as a result, users were more willing to try out the apps presented to them.

As compared to the amount that users spent on Google Play, Apple App users paid double. The containment measures are primarily responsible for the growth of in-app sales, and the demand from consumers is not expected to slow down anytime soon.

Consumers spend money on free and paid apps in Google Play

In 2021, Google Play recorded an 18.6% growth in consumer spending and is reported to have reached $33.6 billion in Q3 2021.

The average expenditure on games also increased by 10% to reach $9 billion in 2021. This is the amount spent on unlocking new levels and capabilities in many of the games available on the platform.

Consumer spending was primarily due to staying indoors for long, and with fewer hours to play, purchasing in-app items was the best way to get past many of the levels presented in the games.

Paid apps also saw an improvement compared to the years before, with consumers at the global level spending about $20 billion in paid apps. With the average price for a paid applying somewhere between $1 and $2, this means that there were more than 10 billion paid apps downloaded in the year alone.

Additionally, the release of new Android versions has attracted new developers and OEM manufacturers, which has contributed to the growth of the Google Play store both in terms of usage and downloads. An increased number of purchases is the reason the store has been growing massively over the years.

Earnings of Top Apps compared to the rest

In the entire history of the App Store, Minecraft is the one app that has been known to make the most money. It is a paid app that has seen massive success in the years that it has been on the app store.

Top 3 Grossing Mobible app worldwide H1 2021Top 3 Grossing Mobiblea pp worldwide H1 2021, Source: Sensor Tower

It has made more than $1.7 billion in 2021 alone, representing a considerable portion of the total amount apps have made on various app stores globally. The top-earning apps are reported to have taken more than 85% of the total app revenue share in the app stores. This means that other developers had to contend with the remaining 15% of revenue from the applications.

For Google Play, some of the top apps include TikTok and Microsoft Office. The exact figures are not yet out, but TikTok is reported to have made about 3 billion downloads, an impressive figure for a non-Facebook application.

Most Earned App

In the app store, the app that earned the most was YouTube. It was ranked the top-grossing iPhone app and was the best performer for the year. It was followed by other apps like tinder, HBO Max, and Tik Tok, which had plenty of downloads during the year.

Most Earned Android App 2021Leading Android apps in the Google Play Store worldwide in October 2021, by revenue(in million U.S. dollars), Source:

Coin Master was the top app on Google Play which had an income of 108.42 million dollars. This was followed by Candy Crush Saga, Garena Free Fire, and TikTok.

Most Earned iOS app on App Store 2021Leading iPhone apps in the Apple App Store worldwide in October 2021, by revenue(in million U.S. dollars), Source:

These are recent apps that have not been on the app store for more than a few years. However, they have managed to gain a lot of traction which is the reason for their huge success.

Paid apps and free apps where is the right direction for app developers

Paid apps are the best choice for app developers looking to make a profit with their applications. They have guaranteed returns, and app stores have been working to make the purchase process easier for the consumers.

This has, in turn, led to an increase in the number of paid app purchases through these avenues. Paid apps should provide value to the app users and developers have to work on app features that the consumers will come to love and appreciate.

What tactics do app developers need to use to help their apps earn the most money in the Top Apps?

Advertisement has been one of the approaches that developers have relied on to boost the number of downloads their apps have been getting. Marketing has taken on different forms, including video ads known to be more engaging and effective for the consumers.

App Monetization Strategies: 10 ways to monetize your Mobile Application | Mobile App Sundays EP. 2, Source: Youtube, Emirates Graphic

Social integration has also been proven to be effective for getting new players and app users to try various new products, leading to increased revenue for the applications.

Trial versions are also being used to give users a taste of what the applications are like before they can be finally purchased. Upgrades can be done from within the application and only takes a moment. As such, developers have the chance to have their application upgraded to a fully paid version after a bit of a trial.


Apps have been performing increasingly better in recent years. The performance was low during the beginning of the year, but this trend has improved and maintained an upward trend over the two quarters that followed. The third quarter has seen the most significant growth, with apps' revenue increasing by a considerable margin. The table below shows how this growth has been growing, and the app revenue trend has taken in 2021.

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