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Global App Spend Predicted to Increase 77% to $233 Billion By 2026

In 2021, amidst a global pandemic that locked everyone in their homes for months on end, consumer spending on various mobile apps reached a historic high of $132 billion. There were questions about whether this growth was a one off that would dissipate after the pandemic, but in spite of the fact that this is the case it managed to continue albeit at a somewhat more moderate pace given the end of widespread lockdowns in most countries.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that Sensor Tower estimates a projected annual growth rate of about 12% for the app ecosystem which includes both the App Store as well as the Google Play Store. This would make the potential consumer spend in 2026 well over $233 billion. Google is growing fairly rapidly, but its growth is falling well short of the rate of increase that Apple is expected to receive over the next few years.

According to this report, Apple’s growth rate in terms of consumer spending is expected to be around 13.7%. This is well ahead of Google’s expected annual growth rate of 8.9%, and it will widen the gap between these two companies with all things having been considered and taken into account. Based on these statistics, consumer spending on the App Store is expected to $85 billion to over $161 billion by 2026, whereas Google’s will increase from $47 billion to $75 billion.

Unsurprisingly, the US will be leading much of this growth. Both Apple as well as Google will see higher growth rates in this region than the global average which is interesting because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up cementing the dominance of American consumers for years to come. Apple’s annual compound growth rate in the US is projected to be around 18.8%, while Google will once again come in second with a predicted consumer spend growth rate of about 12.3%.

One area that Google is actually managing to surpass Apple in is that of first time downloads. The average growth rate across both app stores is predicted to be around 4.7% per year, with Apple expected to see a 2.9% annual growth rate while Google will see 5.2% yearly growth. This would make first time app installs on the App Store go from 33 billion in 2021 to just under 38 billion in 2026. Google, in the meanwhile, will see its first time app downloads soar from 111 billion to a massive 143 billion which confirms its position as the best platform for launching new apps.

Apple is a lot stricter about the apps it allows on its App Store, though, which might explain the discrepancy. Both companies will see less than average performance in the US market, though, which lends some credence to the notion that true growth lies elsewhere such as in the continent of Asia. Google reigns supreme in Asia with its first time installs in the region expected to grow by 7.2% annually which is a lot more than Apple’s projected 1.7% annual growth rate which reveals its dependence on American consumers.
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