Global user spending in mobile apps on Apple’s App Store and Google Play is set to explode to $156 billion worldwide by 2023, according to new projections from app analytics firm Sensor Tower. That’s an increase of 120% in just five years.

Such immense growth can only be a boon for marketers who choose to strategically invest in mobile apps. And, if you still haven’t jumped on the app advertising bandwagon, perhaps these numbers will convince you.

To make those marketing dollars count, let’s take a closer look at exactly who is expected to spend money where.

Google Grows, but Apple Holds

While both the App Store and Google Play are forecast to more than double their revenue, Google will lead the way in growth, increasing at a rate of 140% from 2018 to 2023 versus Apple’s projected 104% growth.

That massive growth doesn’t mean Google can outpace Apple, though. Apple will continue to maintain market share, holding onto an estimated 62% in 2023.

The App Store is projected to reach total revenues of $96 billion in 2023, whereas Google is expected to reach $60 billion in worldwide spending.

Google’s massive growth and Apple’s hold on market share means that neither platform can be ignored. It’s well worth it to ensure that your app works equally well on both platforms to reach the maximum number of users.

Where in the World?

The usual suspects will continue on as the big spenders, with China, the U.S., and Japan predicted to lead the way in the App Store. For Google Play, unavailable in China, the top three earning countries in 2023 are expected to be the U.S., South Korea, and Japan.

In both the App Store and Google Play, Latin America and Africa will account for the most profound revenue growth over a five-year period. User spending in the App Store is estimated to increase by 239% to reach $2.4 billion in Latin America. In Africa, spending will grow by a whopping 296% to $420 million.

The forecasts for Google Play in the region are even more staggering: Spending in Latin America will reach $2.8 billion in 2023, for an increase of 408% over 2018. In Africa, growth of 406% will bring Google Play’s revenue to $430 million.

These astronomical predictions for growth combine with Africa’s mobile-first culture and a nascent games app market in Latin American nations. Taken together, now is the time to consider entering or expanding in these burgeoning markets.

Subscriptions on the Rise

Subscription revenue will play a large part in driving App Store sales over the coming years, according to Sensor Tower, and 60% of this revenue will come from games by 2023. Apple stands at the ready with the recently unveiled Apple Arcade subscription services, in addition to two additional subscription services — Apple News+ and Apple TV+.

With Apple News+ and Apple Arcade being ad free, the new services offer little opportunity for marketers, but Google’s announcement of its video game platform, Stadia, may yet leave room for ads. Stadia allows players to stream cloud-based games on their mobile devices. It has not yet revealed its plans for monetization.

Keep an eye on the latest developments from both Apple and Google in this arena, as monetization plans are never set in stone. Considering the expected growth in subscription services, gaming app developers will want to take advantage of advertising opportunities wherever they can here.

With user spending in mobile apps on the rise at such an astronomical rate, advertisers would be wise to make their own investments in this hot market. As always, though, leveraging data to understand your unique audience will help you make the best strategic marketing decisions.

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