App Store Spending Growth for Games vs. Apps


Projected consumer spending in mobile games versus apps – Source: Sensor Tower

Mobile app revenue will surpass that from mobile games by 2024, and apps will surpass $100 billion by 2025. Driven by the significant success of the in-app subscription model, app revenue increased 4.7x between 2016 and 2020, compared to an increase of 2x for games.

App Store game revenue is growing 64 percent by 2025, or a CAGR of 10.3 percent. This is a considerable slowdown from the 19.4 CAGR over the previous four years as mobile gaming markets have become increasingly competitive.

App Store Revenue Share by Category


Projected consumer spending for top categories – Source: Sensor Tower

By 2025, 58 percent of revenue can come from non-game apps. This is a substantial increase from the 34 percent in 2020. Games are expected to exhibit solid growth over the next five years, but it will be dwarfed by that seen from many non-game categories.

Photo & Video apps have flourished in recent years, led by the likes of TikTok and YouTube. Photo & Video app revenue is going to surpass $23 billion in 2025.

Google Play Spending Growth for Games vs. Apps


Projected consumer spending in mobile games versus apps – Source: Sensor Tower

Consumer spending on Google Play will reach $85 billion in 2025, comprising $60 billion from mobile games and $25 billion from non-games. Games will have a CAGR of 13.3 percent between 2020 and 2025, and non-games will have a CAGR of 29.8 percent. 

Non-game revenue climbed from $1.2 billion in 2016 to $6.7 billion in 2020. Expect strong growth among non-games to continue over the next five years to nearly $25 billion, or 3.7x the 2020 total.

Google Play Revenue Share by Category


Projected consumer spending for top categories – Source: Sensor Tower

Games will continue to take a comparatively higher share on Google Play than the App Store, with a projected 71 percent share from games in 2025 compared to just 42 percent on the App Store. Mobile gaming’s share of revenue on Google Play has also fallen due to quickly increasing revenue for non-game apps.

Social was the only category outside of games to surpass $1 billion in 2020. Seven different non-game categories are going to surpass that total in 2025, led by Social at $4 billion and Entertainment at $3.5 billion.

App Store Download Growth for Games vs. Apps


Projected downloads of mobile games versus apps – Source: Sensor Tower

Download growth for apps and games alike increased in 2020, with adjustments due to COVID-19 contributing. Trends are expected to return towards the pre-2020 average as countries gradually re-open and shift back towards pre-COVID-19 behavior.

Unlike the trends seen for revenue, mobile games are projected for slightly higher growth than non-games. Games have a projected CAGR of 5.2 percent, compared to 4.3 percent for apps.

App Store Download Share by Category


Projected downloads for top categories – Source: Sensor Tower

Category market share is much more stable for App Store downloads than for revenue. Games will take approximately 30 percent of the market, and the top five non-game categories will take another 30 percent. 

The order among the top categories will shift slightly by 2025. Finance, Shopping, and Lifestyle will move up, while Entertainment and Utilities will drop out of the top five.

Google Play Download Growth for Games vs. Apps


Projected downloads for mobile games versus apps – Source: Sensor Tower

Google Play download growth in 2020 also shows the impact of COVID-19. App install climbed 19 percent to 62 billion, while games had 35 percent growth to 46 billion.

Unlike the App Store, games are able for lower growth than non-games on GooglePlay. Non-games have a CAGR forecast of 14.1 percent between 2020 and 2025 compared to 7.5 percent for games.

Google Play Download Share by Category


Projected downloads for top categories – Source: Sensor Tower

Google Play game downloads share is going to return to 39 percent in 2021 after jumping to 43 percent in 2020. Adventure, Role Playing, and Trivia were the top growing game categories in 2020. 

Video Players can become the biggest non-game category by 2025, followed by Entertainment and Social. According to the forecast, tools will fall from No.2 in 2020 to No. 6 in 2025.

Key Takeaways:

Top Categories

1. Spending on non-game apps continued to climb rapidly on both the App Store and Google Play. App Store revenue from non-games is going to surpass that from games in 2024 off of 34.3 percent annual growth. Google Play’s non-game revenue lags behind that on the App Store but it is still projected nearly 30 percent growth annually.

2. COVID-19 affected each category differently in 2020. Business app adoption surged in the spring as workers turned to apps to assist their transition to work from home. While downloads are expected to fall back towards preCOVID-19 levels over the next few years, expect some of these changes to be persistent into 2025 and beyond.

3. The category market share for downloads will be much more stable than it is for revenue. Games are projected to account for around 30 percent of the downloads on the App Store and 35 to 40 percent of the downloads on Google Play for the next five years.