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Data.ai published 2024 State of Mobile Report

data.ai’s annual report highlights the latest trends on mobile, from how TikTok and Threads are changing the social app landscape to the resurgence of mobile gaming spend.

The mobile market turned the tide in 2023 driven by the creator economy and subscriptions and is looking stronger than ever entering 2024. data.ai’s State of Mobile 2024 Report reveals that mobile made a comeback after a one-year market slowdown. In 2023, consumer spending hit a new high at $171 billion (+3% YoY) following a 2% YoY dip in 2022.

In the report, Data.ai highlight another record-breaking year for app developers across the globe.

A Record $533 Billion Spent on Mobile in 2023 Across App Stores and Advertising

The mobile app economy is now a half-a-trillion-dollar market, with nearly $1.5 billion in spending each day in 2023 across app store spend and mobile ad spend. This included $362 billion in mobile ad spend, an 8% YoY increase.

Revenue wasn’t the only metric that performed well in 2023 – downloads and time spent also saw strong growth to new all-time highs. Hours spent peaked at 5.1 trillion (+6% YoY). Meanwhile, downloads remained flat at 257 billion (+1% YoY).

The uptick in app store spend is particularly notable given the unprecedented decline in 2022, which was largely driven by mobile gaming. While the outlook for games and apps alike looks better entering 2024, consumer spend on apps will continue to drive the bulk of the growth, something that seemed impossible just 10 years ago.

Apps outpaced games, driving the rebound in consumer spend at 11% YoY to $64 billion and more than six times the total from 2016. Social apps and the creator economy pioneered new pathways to monetization beyond advertising. TikTok laid the groundwork through its content creator “tipping” mechanism, propelling it past $10 billion in lifetime spend. In 2024, direct consumer monetization in social apps through In-App Purchases is set to grow 150% to $1.3 billion as competition ramps up. And this consumer spend growth is not isolated to one sector – genres including Entertainment, Social Media, Health & Fitness and Generative AI, to name a few, all saw rapid growth this past year.

Mobile Gaming is Booming in Most Markets

Mobile gaming was one of the industries hit hardest in 2022 by inflation and regulations. The 2% annual decline in consumer spend looks like a continuation of the 4% decline in 2022; however, a closer look reveals a more positive picture in most markets.

While mobile game spend in China declined nearly 11% YoY, spend outside of China saw 4% growth – a remarkable comeback from the 11% YoY decline outside of China in 2022. Some notable markets with double-digit growth in 2023 included South Korea, France, Brazil and Turkey.

New and Old: AI Moves to Mobile While Travel Comes Roaring Back

Generative AI experienced explosive growth in 2023, expanding by 7x, and led to the emergence of new sectors such as AI Chatbots and Art Generators. This AI growth also fueled embedded features across virtually all mobile sectors, paving the way for a fresh wave of digital innovation. Notable Generative AI apps include ChatGPTAsk AI and Character AI.

The launch of ChatGPT propelled further growth to the AI Chatbot space in particular. The new chatbot app from OpenAI found immediate success following its launch on iOS in March 2023 (soon followed by its launch on Google Play in July). Generative AI apps also surpassed $10 million in monthly consumer spend by late 2023.

Amid the hype surrounding new AI apps, some more traditional apps also saw strong growth in 2023. With outsized growth coming from pent-up demand following years of low travel, it was uncertain whether these gains would hold in 2023. The results are in and the huge demand for travel last year was not a one-off.

Travel apps continued to make records with more than 3 billion downloads globally in 2023, up 13% from 2022 and easily outpacing the 2.2 billion downloads seen in 2019 before the pandemic. As consumers adjust their behavior to life following the pandemic, it is clear that mobile is still a key part of their daily lives.

Additional Highlights:

Read the industry’s leading mobile report covering everything you need to know to succeed on mobile in 2024 and beyond, spanning 12 industries and 30 markets in a dynamic, interactive format covering:

  • Competition for Eyeballs: Mobile ad spend is projected to reach $362 billion, an 8% increase, fueled by short-form video and video-sharing apps.
  • Mobile Gaming Faces Headwinds: Gaming spend decreased to $107 billion (-2% YoY), while downloads remained steady at 88 billion, driven by Hypercasual, Simulation, and Action genres.
  • Overseas Competition Heats Up: Chinese shopping apps Temu and SHEIN broke into the West, growing by 140%, with Temu leading downloads across 125 markets.
  • Video Remains King: Social and Entertainment apps experienced double-digit growth, with time spent up 12% to 3 trillion hours and spending up 10% to $29 billion.
  • Revenge Travel Rockets: Travel downloads surged in the sector by 13%, with integrated travel services (26%), tour booking (80%), and flight booking (43%) leading the growth.
  • Demand for Real-Life Events Booms: Ticketing apps as a sector saw demand soar by 31% in 2023, driven by Swifties and Bey-Hive fans, marking a 66% increase from pre-pandemic levels.

data.ai’s 2024 State of Mobile Report delves deep into regional and category-level market trends made possible by the more than 1.2 million apps categorized under data.ai’s industry-first Game IQ and App IQ taxonomy and data.ai’s applied ai-driven market data. Claim your copy of the State of Mobile 2024 today!

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