iPhone users spend an average of $138 on apps in 2020

People spent a lot of money on apps last year.

What you need to know

  • iPhone users spent an average of $138 on apps in 2020.
  • That was a 38% increase when compared to 2019.

People are spending more on apps on the iPhone, and it is only expected to increase.

According to new data from Sensor Tower, the average amount of money spent in apps on the iPhone in the United States was $138 per user in 2020, a 38% increase when compared to 2019. The report specifically focused on spending on in-app purchases and premium apps.

Average in-app spending per U.S. iPhone reached a new record in 2020 and saw the greatest annual growth since 2016 when it grew 42 percent Y/Y. At the same time, this growth significantly exceeded the 27 percent Y/Y increase seen between 2018 and 2019 when it rose from $79 to $100.

2020 year-over-year growth in the average annual in-app spending per active U.S. iPhone exceeded growth seen in 2019.

The trend is global, as many people turned to their smartphones for entertainment during the pandemic.

Per-device spending in mobile games saw explosive growth in 2020, leaping from $53.80 in 2019 to $76.80. This represents Y/Y growth of 43 percent, more than 20 points higher than the 22 percent Y/Y growth seen in 2019 when in-game spending climbed from $44.

An analysis of Sensor Tower Game Intelligence data reveals U.S. iPhone users spent the most in Puzzle games per device, averaging $15.50 on the category, which includes titles such as Candy Crush Saga and Gardenscapes. The Casino category saw the next highest user spending, averaging $13.10, followed by Strategy, which saw a surge in revenue last year and saw an average of $12.30 per iPhone in user spending.

According to the data, Games, Entertainment, Photo and Video, Social Networking, and Lifestyle were the top five cash cows for developers.

Mobile gaming saw a significant boost in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers sought at-home activities and new ways to socialize with friends. This is reflected by the spike experienced by the Open World Adventure category, which often feature a multiplayer option, and Social Party games.

Along with games, per-iPhone spending in Entertainment category apps boomed during the pandemic. With the shutdown of in-person spaces such as movie theaters, many consumers turned to streaming services such as Disney+ for content. Average per-device spending in this category was the second highest in our analysis at $10.20, an increase of 26 percent over the $8.10 spent in 2019. In comparison, per-device spending in this category grew just 1 percent between 2018 and 2019.

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