Asia is set to record the highest growth inapp adoption over the next five years, with India leading the region, according to a report by Sensor Tower.

Asia will see the highest growth in mobile app adoption at a CAGR of 6.2 per cent to reach 88.3 billion first-time downloads by 2026, driven primarily by Google Play.

Apple’s marketplace is expected to grow at a CAGR of 1.7 per cent over the next five years, reaching 14.5 billion downloads, whereas Google Play will exceed the combined CAGR with 7.2 per cent and reach 73.8 billion downloads in 2026.

India is expected to lead the region, reaching 40.2 billion new downloads in 2026, up 44 per cent from 27.8 billion in 2021.

Globally, first-time downloads are expected to set new records in the next five years, growing at a CAGR of 4.7 per cent to achieve 181 billion downloads in 2026, despite slowing since the surge in 2020.

The growth of app adoption on the App Store is forecast to be 2.9 per cent CAGR, reaching 37.8 billion within the next five years, while Google Play will exceed the combined CAGR by increasing 5.2 per cent to 143.1 billion, according to the report.

Consumer spending 

Global consumer spending on premium apps, in-app purchases, and subscriptions is expected to reach $233 billion across Apple’s App Store and Google Play by 2026, up 77 per cent compared to $132 billion in 2021, the report said. 

“Although consumer spending habits have normalised since the initial spike during the pandemic, gross revenue on both app stores will continue to climb each year, with a 12 per cent compound annual growth rate, reaching $233 billion in 2026,” it said.

The App Store is forecast to record a CAGR of 13.7 per cent through 2026, to reach $161 billion annually. On Google’s platform, consumer spending is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.9 per cent to reach $72 billion within the next five years. 

North America is expected to lead in terms of growth in consumer spending over the next five years, with revenue growing 113 per cent in the region.

Non-game app revenue 

“Although mobile games will continue to reign as the single highest grossing category, non-game apps will collectively outpace its revenue share by 2026, at least on Apple’s App Store,” Sensor Tower said.

By 2026, mobile games will account for a 43 per cent share of revenue in that marketplace, down 23 points from 2020. 

Mobile games are also likely to witness a downward trend on Google Play over the next five years. However, it is expected to maintain its majority revenue share with 65 per cent in 2026, down 18 points from 2020. 

Among non-game apps, on iOS, Entertainment is the leading category, with revenue share growing 5 points over the next five years to 13 per cent. 

Social, entertainment, and productivity are expected to be the largest non-game apps in terms of revenue share on Google Play, with Social and Entertainment being on a par with a 6 per cent revenue share in 2026.