The figures set an all-time record as millions were forced to stay at home and pass the time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite lockdowns ending in many areas, spending on apps has only increased in 2021, according to App Annie's data.
The report shows that iOS App Store users spent $22 billion, a 30% jump from the figures seen in Q2 last year. Spending in the Google Play store grew by 20% to $12 billion. Google Play had 25 billion downloads, while iOS downloads hovered around 8 billion in Q2.
The report noted that the app market fully took its form 13 years ago when Apple created the App Store in 2008 with 500 different apps. That 500 has now ballooned into more than 5 million apps on both Android and iOS devices.
In Q2, users flocked to a variety of popular apps across verticals like entertainment, social, messaging and video streaming. Tik Tok continues to dominate the app market, staying at number one when it comes to downloads and money spent by users.
HBO Max was a surprise addition to the consumer spending chart for Q2, rising up to number six on the charts. According to App Annie, the app relaunched in May 2020 and now has 18 million monthly active users in the US. The app saw a particularly large growth in users after airing the Friends Reunion. The report said the TV special "drove more sign-ups to Max in its opening weekend in the US than any of Warner Bros.' new movies so far this year."
"Another notable presence in the Q2 2021 Top Apps chart (by consumer spend) is Piccoma. The 'webtoon' comic app run by Kakao Japan (the Japanese subsidiary of Korea's Kakao) continued its steady rise to become the world's seventh-biggest app by consumer spending," the report added.
"Piccoma has changed the way Japanese consumers pay for comics by turning complete books into episodes and offering a freemium business model in which readers can pay rather than wait for the next instalment. The company confirmed revenues of 37.6 billion yen ($340 million) in 2020."
Users are flocking to apps like Tik Tok that allow them to share short videos, but competition in the space is growing. Tiki A Short Video Community reached number 5 on App Annie's "breakout" rankings, and in India, the app Roposo saw huge increases in downloads.
Gaming continues to be a huge revenue stream for the app market, with average weekly downloads of games staying steady at nearly 1 billion for the fifth straight quarter. On a weekly basis, an average of about $1.7 billion is spent by users, an increase of 35% compared to two years ago.
Games like Roblox, Supersonic's Bridge Race, Hair Challenge and Good Job's Paper Fold led the gaming app market for Q2.
"Q2 2021 proved two things: mobile habits catalyzed during the last 12 months of the pandemic are our new normal, and they are fueling a growing mobile economy -- with quarterly consumer spend consistently breaking records," the report said.
App Annie researchers noted that business apps also set records for how much time users spent on them, which was up 55% compared to Q1 of 2021. This sector was led by downloads of Zoom and Google Meet in the US.