Report Shows Top 100 Subscription-Based Apps Earned $13 Billion In 2020

2020 was the year in which the number of app downloads and consumer spending reached new heights. Various estimates also suggest that the total global revenue figure associated with the category revolves around $111 billion to $112 billion.

However, now the biggest surprise emerges in the form of massive growth in subscription payments, as according to the newly published data from Sensor Tower, the global subscription app revenue from the top 100 subscription apps in 2020 went up by 34% on a year-over-year basis ($13 billion in 2020 and $9.7 billion in 2019). Not to forget, these numbers exclude any data related to the gaming apps.

A major chunk of this subscription revenue came through the App Store - pretty much like the way it already beats Play Store on consumer spending every time. Despite the pandemic and economic crisis that dominated throughout the year 2020, it was a dream run for the top 100 subscription apps as together they managed to generate $10.3 billion on the App Store. Google Play Store managed to bring $2.7 billion which again was a 42% increment when compared with $1.9 billion of 2019.

Moving beyond these numbers, some signs also indicate that the subscription revenue growth is about to hit the peak. There has been a slowdown and also flat growth at the same time but the major credit for this performance should be given to larger apps, like Netflix and Tinder, which have made sure that people continue to spend their money on in-app purchases.

Overall, around the world, subscription app revenue coming from the top 100 apps comprised 11.7% of the total ~$111 billion that consumers spent on in-app purchases in 2020. The share is more or less similar to what it was in 2019.

There was a slight decline in the last quarter of 2020 as 86 of the top 100 earning apps worldwide offered subscriptions, which is three apps less as in the fourth quarter of 2019, there were 89 apps offering similar services.

Apart from this all, subscription app revenue growth in the U.S. is also not going according to the global trends.

Although there was a 26% increase in the subscription app revenue on a year-over-year basis making up to $5.9 billion in 2020, this growth still falls lower than the 34% worldwide increase.

Along with that, last year the reports also showed subscription app spending in the U.S. only putting up a smaller percentage of the total. Similarly in 2020 too, the subscription payments from the top 100 subscription apps stood as 17.6% of the $33 billion the consumers in the U.S. managed to spend on in-app purchases. It’s a 21% decline from 2019.

Moreover, out of the 100 top-grossing apps in the U.S. from the quarter four of 2020, 91 were made on the subscription-based model which is another drop when compared with 93 of the year-ago quarter.

The iOS App Store and Google Play had different top subscription apps in the U.S. Youtube turned out to be the topped grosser for the former, whereas Google Play users spent more money on Google One than any other app. Tinder stood second on the App Store and surprisingly Disney+ grabbed the second spot on Google Play.

Generally, YouTube, Disney+, Tinder, Pandora, Google One, Twitch, Bumble, HBO Max, Hulu and ESPN made it to the top 10 list of both the app stores. One thing to note here is that looking at these top earners, it is visible that people are more willing to pay for streaming services than any other category. Of course, dating apps are an exception but apps belonging to other categories will still have to work hard.
Read next: Study Reveals Nearly 8 In 10 Consumers Don’t Want to Download Apps to Complete Transactions
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