People Spent More Time on Mobile Apps Than Watching TV in 2021: Report

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 12 Jan 2022

App Store on iPhone Home screen

Analyst firm App Annie released its “State of Mobile 2022” report that paints a picture of the app economy across iOS App Store, Google Play, and third-party Android app stores in China and worldwide. It shows that people spent a record 3.8 trillion hours on mobile apps during 2021.

According to the report, consumers spent $170 billion on mobile apps last year, a 19 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase. A record-setting 230 billion apps were downloaded in the same timeframe. Emerging markets such as India, Peru, Pakistan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Egypt were identified as the primary drivers behind this statistic. However, the growth rate for app downloads recorded a decline from 7 percent in January 2021 to 5 percent in the entire year.

The broader mobile app market recorded a 23 percent YoY increase in spending. By 2022, the total consumer spending is forecasted to surpass $350 billion, accelerated by the Beijing Olympics and the US midterm election.

The report also shows that consumers spent more time on mobile apps than watching TV in some cases. According to App Annie, the average American watches TV for 3.1 hours each day, but in 2021, they spent 4.1 hours on mobile apps. Once again, users in emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia, and South Korea topped the statistic, spending over 5 hours on mobile apps in 2021.

The firm surveyed 10 markets – Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, India, Japan, Turkey, Singapore, Canada, the US, Russia, the UK, Australia, Argentina, France, Germany, and China. Its report concludes that, on average, people spent 30 percent longer on their smartphones than in 2019.

Understandably, people spent much of this time on social media and video-sharing platforms. The report notes that Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube were so popular that consumers spent seven out of every 10 minutes using these apps. App Annie says that TikTok recorded a stellar 90 percent more usage time globally in 2021 in markets besides China.

In 2021, developers released 2 million new apps and games on the App Store, while over 21 million were added to Google’s Play Store. After accounting for the apps removed from these app distribution platforms for various reasons, the App Store has 1.8 million live apps while the Play Store lists 3.6 million live apps.

Additionally, the report highlights the following points:

  • Consumers spent $16 billion on gaming apps.
  • Shopping apps hogged over 100 billion hours globally in 2021, an 18 percent YoY increase.
  • Over 1 billion finance apps were downloaded in India alone, helping total downloads for the segment reach 5.9 billion worldwide.
  • Netflix is on the road to 1 million downloads in over 60 countries in 2022.
  • Meditation apps saw a 27 percent YoY uptick in consumer spending.
  • Consumers worldwide spent north of $4 billion on dating apps in 2021. Most of the spending was recorded in the US, the UK, China, and Japan.

Do you think mobile apps deserve the substantial amount of time we spend on them? Please share your thoughts with our readers in the comments section below.

[Via App Annie]