Publishers who don’t have an app — or who have one but are not monetizing it — this is for you: you’re missing out on huge revenue opportunities. 

10 App Monetization Statistics to Know Infographic Video

At Playwire, helping publishers boost their app revenue is a big part of what we do. Take a look at these 10 app monetization statistics.

The 10 most important app monetization statistics to know in 2021 are:

  1. 81% of Americans own at least one smartphone
  2. Americans spend 3.6 hours on mobile devices every day on average
  3. Of the time Americans spend on their smartphones, 88% is within an app
  4. More than 21% of Millennials open apps at least 50 times each day
  5. Smartphone users download around 218 billion apps per year
  6. Consumers spend around $143 billion inside of mobile apps per year
  7. More than 96% of Americans making more than $75,000 per year own a smartphone
  8. Around 92% of apps in the Apple store and 96% in the Google store are completely free
  9. Revenue from mobile game apps broke $100 billion in 2020
  10. In 2020, mobile apps brought in nearly $582 billion in revenue

If you’re ready to start getting your piece of the app monetization pie, reach out to the app monetization experts at Playwire.

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App Use Statistics

More people use smartphone apps — and use them more often and for longer — every year. The more people use apps, the bigger the app monetization opportunities become for publishers. 

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App Monetization Guide

Read the Complete Guide to App Monetization for Publishers

1. (Almost) Everybody in the U.S. Has a Smartphone

In 2019, 81% of Americans owned at least one smartphone. Smartphones are where apps are downloaded, although tablets account for a portion of app use, too. Keep in mind that this number has been growing consistently — only around 35% of Americans owned an app-capable device in 2011.

2. People Spend a Lot of Time on Their Phones

A lot of time. In 2018, Americans spent 3.6 hours on mobile devices every day on average. The more time spent inside your app, the more money you stand to make.

3. And They Aren’t Just Texting

Of the time Americans spend on their smartphones, 88% is within an app. Publishers who capture even a microscopic portion of that time stand to bring in a lot of ad revenue.

4. Younger Generations Use a Lot of Apps

Advertisers will pay top dollar for access to younger audiences. They like to reach them when they’re forming their brand opinions and spending habits. Apps offer that access. According to 2018 data, more than 21% of Millennials open apps at least 50 times each day. And Gen Z spends 71% of the total time they engage with digital media inside of apps.

5. 218 Billion App Downloads in 2020

That’s right — smartphone users downloaded around 218 billion apps last year. That’s up from roughly 141 billion apps downloaded in 2016. 

Consider that the current population of earth is somewhere in the neighborhood of 7.6 billion people. That’s around 28 apps per person. 

Letterboxd App Case StudyLearn how Letterboxd increased year-over-year app revenue by 2,433% using Playwire's RAMP for app platform.

App Revenue Statistics

For publishers, the revenue potential of mobile apps is nearly endless. While there are millions of apps to compete with, there is also a nearly limitless audience and an enormous pool of highly motivated advertisers to tap into.

6. People Spend Money in Apps

Consumers spent around $143 billion inside of mobile apps in 2020. That’s up from $57.7 billion just four years earlier, and it doesn’t even account for the ad revenue publishers earned for all those impressions.

7. Nearly All High-Income Americans Own Smartphones

More than 96% of Americans making more than $75,000 per year owned a smartphone in 2019. Having access to a high-income audience can get publishers access to premium ad dollars. Put simply, that means you have more high-value app ad inventory to sell if you attract a high-income audience.

8. Most Apps Are Free

As of early 2021, around 92% of apps in the Apple store and 96% in the Google store were completely free. Of course, paid app downloads are only one app monetization strategy of many (more on that below).

9. Mobile Games Bring in a Lot of Revenue

Revenue from mobile game apps broke $100 billion in 2020. As smartphones become more powerful, mobile games are on track to get more popular. That leaves even more opportunity for game publishers to break in and rake it in.

10. App Revenue Is on Track to Top $1 Trillion

In 2020, mobile apps brought in nearly $582 billion in revenue. Experts estimate that app revenue will break the $1 trillion mark in 2023. 

App Monetization Resource Center

Browse our library of resources on app monetization.

How Apps Are Monetized

These app monetization statistics are certainly eye-catching, but many publishers are still struggling to come up with an effective app monetization strategy. Innovative app monetization partners are coming up with new ways to monetize apps all the time, but there are a few tried and true strategies to consider:

  • In-app ads. Banner ads, interstitial video ads and rewarded ads are just a few examples of in-app ads that can bring in revenue. You need a lot of traffic to make these ads highly profitable.
  • Subscriptions. Monthly subscriptions can bring in consistent revenue, but you need to have a loyal user base to earn that monthly subscription money.
  • Data monetization. Especially as third-party data dies before our eyes, first-party data from your app and other channels can be valuable. Keep in mind that you have to have a lot of data to make it valuable.
  • In-app purchasing. If you sell a product or service, this route is an obvious choice for app monetization. But you can also sell virtual items like in-game assets or currency inside your app.
  • Transaction fees. App monetization through transaction fees works best when your app is a sort of marketplace for users to interact with or buy things from each other. 

Want to learn more about app monetization? Check out the Complete Guide to App Monetization for Publishers.

Get in on This: App Monetization with Playwire

Virtually limitless revenue potential. That’s what app monetization offers publishers. But you have to do it right if you want to reap the full benefits.

That’s where Playwire comes in. We partner with publishers to create multi-channel monetization strategies that actually work. These app monetization statistics should tell you at least one thing for sure: apps are here to stay. And it’s not too late to get in on this. Contact Playwire online or give us a call at 1-561-206-4621 to learn how.

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