Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest mobile OS news, mobile applications, and the overall app economy. The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spending in 2020.
Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.
Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re also a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into mobile companies — a figure that’s up 27% year-over-year.
This week we’re looking into app store trends, Apple’s upcoming WWDC, new App Store rejections and what they mean for ATT (App Tracking Transparency), and whatever happened to that Arizona App Store bill, among other stories.
Apps just had the biggest quarter on record.
This week, big news for the app economy, as App Annie reported that consumer spending on mobile apps broke a new record. According to recent data, worldwide consumers in Q1 2021 spent $32 billion on apps across both iOS and Google Play, up 40% year-over-year from Q1 2020. It’s the largest-ever quarter on record, with mobile consumers spending roughly $9 billion more in Q1 2021 compared with Q1 2020, in part due to the pandemic’s continued impacts.