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50 Stats for Mobile App Growth and Success in 2021

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a significant change in consumer behavior worldwide has forced organizations across all verticals to re-evaluate their business models. As we all have begun to adapt to our new reality, it has become evident how important digital transformation has become. While this global lockdown brought a lot of uncertainty to many businesses, some marketers recognized it as an opportunity to pivot and provide additional value to their users. The truth of the matter is, having a mobile presence has become imperative to survival. As mobility continues to redefine how industries operate, traditional enterprises need to be conscious of the fact that they are no longer just in competition with each other, but with mobile-first companies that have captured the attention of an increasingly mobile society.

However, finding success in the mobile market is not an easy task. Breaking into the mobile market is an iterative process that requires in-depth research, extensive planning, and unbeatable dedication. Understanding the current mobile landscape is imperative to both enterprises that currently have mobile services, and those looking to break into the market as they move forward in developing a mobile strategy that best suits their business objectives.

Before committing to mobile app development, it’s important to be familiar with the mobile landscape as a whole. The following is a complete list of 50 mobile statistics that will provide insight into the market you’re about to enter.

Mobile Usage

As the number of app downloads, mobile users, and mobile devices worldwide are projected to continue to increase in 2021, it’s clear how integral mobility is to our society.

  1. By 2021, there will be roughly 7 billion mobile users worldwide.

  2. In 2020 annual mobile app downloads 218 billion downloads. That’s a seven percent increase year-over year. Now is the time for user acquisition.

  3. In 2020 app store spend hit $143 billion worldwide, an increase of 20 percent year-over-year.

  4. In 2020, the average daily time spent on a mobile device reached four hours and ten minutes, an increase of 20 percent year-over-year.

  5. 92 percent of time spent on mobile is spent using apps, social networking and communication apps taking up 44 percent.

  6. Only eight percent of time spent on mobile is spent using a web browser

  7. Americans spent eight percent more time on mobile than watching live TV each day.

  8. 25 percent of users abandon a product after only one use.

  9. Generation Z (ages 6-24), Millennials (ages 25-40), and Gen X/Baby Boomers (ages 41-75) spend 16 percent, 18 percent, and 30 percent more time year-over-year, respectively, in their most-used apps.

  10. 40 percent more hours streamed on mobile, peaking in Q2 of 2020.

Mobile users don’t just find their devices convenient, they are dependent on them. Given the continued increase in dependence on mobile, it’s critical to adapt business models to match key audiences’ behavior. If a large majority of your audience is mobile-first or mobile-only, your business needs to communicate with them based on their preference.

Mobile Performance

When it comes to mobile, users have exceptionally high standards for functionality and performance. It’s mandatory to adapt digital content to translate seamlessly across varying screen sizes and multiple devices.

Native apps are fast, responsive, and deliver a generally well-received user experience. These applications have access to inbuilt hardware, as well as support for every interface interaction offered by the respective operating system.

Nevertheless, enterprises can’t neglect mobile web content. Mobile web applications are ideally suited for content consumption and can be designed to imitate native apps. However, web app usability relies heavily on the web browser performance. It’s crucial for your mobile web design to adjust content and determine device resolution to properly accommodate the presentation and delivery of digital media.

Any mobile enterprise app needs to be thoroughly tested. Performance factors like load times, product crashes, and complicated registration fields all add up to poor user experience and can ruin your chances of market success.

  1. App crashes cause 71 percent of uninstalls.

  2. 67 percent of bugs are reported on iOS devices.

  3. 44 percent of in-app defects are found by the user.

  4. 47 percent of apps need more time for testing.

  5. 58 percent of users are frustrated by interface inconsistencies.

  6. 52 percent of users are frustrated by overall app performance.

  7. 29 percent of users will immediately abandon an app if they don’t find it valuable.

  8. 70 percent of users abandon an app because it takes too long to load.

  9. 43 percent of users are unhappy if they have to wait longer than three seconds for your app to load.

  10. 65 percent of users say a poor mobile experience negatively impacts their opinion of the brand.

If you haven’t properly tested your product, it’s simply not market-ready. A documented testing process is a critical element of any mobile strategy.

Mobile Marketing

Achieving momentum in the mobile app market is difficult for even the most established enterprises. Drafting a thorough mobile marketing plan is the cornerstone for continuous growth and success for an already existing or new product. The marketing component of your overall development process is ongoing and requires constant maintenance.

  1. 51 percent of users say they discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphones.

  2. 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase.

  3. Only 54 percent of marketers say they currently use a mobile app platform to market to their prospects and customers.

  4. In 2020 mobile ad spend hit $240 billion, 26 percent growth year-over year.

  5. Mobile ad placements grew 95 percent year-over-year in the United States.

  6. Leveraging a multi-channel engagement strategy proves to be a powerful retention method with retention rates being 62 percent higher than apps that only engage users with one channel.

  7. The most popular form of app store optimization (ASO) came in the form of description updates at 46 percent.

  8. App icon updates were the second most frequent form of ASO at 30 percent, up 24 percent year over year.

  9. Mobile ad placements grew 95 percent year-over-year in the United States.

  10. Global spend across iOS and Google Play Stores to hit $112 billion in 2020, growth of 25 percent year-over-year.

The mobile app market continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Connected customer experiences are seen as a requirement from businesses and services alike. As a response, organizations need to expand beyond their established tactics, toolkits and channels to reach and acquire their audiences and meet the expectations of mobile app customers.

Trends By Vertical

Looking at a breakdown of each mobile app vertical provides wildly different insights into how users interact with mobile apps. With each vertical and category, retention rates, session duration, and in-app activity vary.

Banking And FinTech

  1. In 2020 Banking and FinTech app downloads hit a record 4.6 billion downloads.

  2. Time spent in Finance apps during 2020 was up 45% worldwide outside of China in 2020 year-over-year Food, Restaurants And QSRs.

  3. In 2020 food delivery and takeout apps flourished. Users clocked up an estimated 128 billion sessions.

  4. In the United States, food delivery apps witnessed year-over year growth of 60 percent in Q4 2020.


  1. In the US, outdoor exploration apps recreation.gov and Geocaching saw strong download growth at 255% and 75% respectively to top 2.7 million downloads, indicating a desire for outdoor activities.

Health And Fitness

  1. Medical app downloads grew 50 percent year-over-year — spurred by demand for COVID-tracing and telehealth apps. Downloads surpassed 3.2 billion across Health & Fitness and Medical apps.

  2. Demand for at-home exercise spurs growth in mobile’s share of wallet, 30% Growth Year-Over-Year in Consumer Spend to $2 billion.


  1. Collectively people spent 82 billion hours in Shopping apps in 2020. That’s an increase of 30% growth from 2019.

  2. Americans spent $53.2 billion on mobile retail apps between November 1 and December 9. This was 55% growth year over year.

  3. Combined, social commerce (Instagram, Pinterest) and live shopping are poised to be a $2 trillion market by 2024.

Keep in mind, every app vertical has its unique set of benchmarks and best practices to follow. What’s realistic is based on a case-to-case basis depending on the purpose of your app and your overall business goals.

Predictions For 2021 And Beyond

  1. Mobile bolstered the ad industry in 2020 — growing to $240 billion in mobile ad spend and set to top $290 billion in 2021.

  2. Nearly 92.3 percent smartphone users will be using voice assistants iby 2023.

  3. By 2023 it is expected that 2.72 billion people will watch video on their mobile phones, up from 2.16 billion in 2019.

  4. In 2021, the average mobile streamer in the US, South Korea and the UK will download 85%, 80% and 60% more video streaming apps.

  5. Business and Education apps are poised to see a 4-year CAGR of 57% and 62% in 2021.

  6. Mobile gaming on track to surpass $120 billion in consumer spend in 2021 — capturing 1.5x of the market compared to all other gaming platforms combined.

  7. In 2021, home will remain the epicenter of our social and working lives — with mobile driving 43 percent acceleration in “at-home” activities.

  8. In 2022 approximately 135.6 million US users will be using voice assistants.

  9. By 2023, IDC forecasts that worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure will nearly double, to around $500 billion.

  10. The global mobile workforce is expected to reach 1.87 billion workers (over 42 percent of the global workforce) by 2022.

Key Takeaways

Heading into 2021, it’s clear that mobile is the key to success. At this point in the game, with the majority of influential enterprises already having a mobile product on the market, focus should shift to improving a current product to deliver more value to customers. With many organizations failing to consider key trends and patterns into strategic growth plans, leveraging the insights from the statistics listed above, can shed light on trends that can manifest into opportunities. Acting on these new found opportunities has the potential to lead to greater success, reaching business goals, cutting costs and getting a leg up on the competition. Remember, to deliver value, businesses need to meet customer expectations.


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