European mobile app spending jumped almost 20% in 2019

European mobile users spent an estimated $11.2 billion (£8.6 bn) on apps in 2019, an increase of 18.9 per cent when compared with 2018.

A report by mobile trends analysts Sensor Tower concluded that gamers increased spending in, and on, games by 14.6 per cent year-over-year (YoY), generating $7.4 billion (£5.6 bn) in Europe in 2019. Combined gaming downloads across Europe also increased – 9.5 per cent Y0Y – to 10.4 billion in 2019, with the App Store and Google Play accumulating a combined 24.1 billion downloads in 2019, up 7.2 per cent on last year.

When not including local taxes, in-app advertising, or in-app user spending on mobile commerce (e.g. purchases via the Amazon app), Coin Master was the top-grossing game in Europe in 2019, reportedly generating $211 million (£162m). Tinder was the top-grossing non-game app in Europe last year, generating $303.1 million in user spending. Other high-grossing games include Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, and Pokémon Go.

Table showing the highest grossing mobile games in Europe in 2019

The UK drove most of that increased revenue in 2019, generating more than $2.1 billion (£1.61bn) in user spending last year, up 20 per cent on last year. Germany was close behind with just under $2.1 billion – an increase of 17.9 per cent – while France generated close to $1.4 billion (£1.07m), up 15.7 per cent. The UK also represented the largest share of App Store revenue in Europe with $1.4 billion, but Germany consumers generated the most –  $1.2 billion, or 23.3 per cent of the total – on Google Play.

The most downloaded games of 2019 include Brawl Stars and Call of Duty: Mobile, along with casual titles such as Homescapes, and Good Job Games’ 3D games Color Bump, Fun Race, and Run Race.

“Europe’s mobile market continues to experience double-digit revenue growth at consistent levels across both the App Store and Google Play, though when it comes to downloads, Apple’s storefront is growing at less than half the pace of Google’s,” said the analysts.

“Much like on a worldwide level, games are a key driver for Europe’s app revenue. However, this category takes up a smaller chunk of the pie in the region: Globally, games made up 74 per cent of all user spending, while in Europe that fell to 66.3 per cent. Another unique facet of the European market compared to other lucrative regions is that Google Play is the biggest driver of revenue in Europe, thanks in part to the success of the storefront in Germany.”

A recent report into the mobile gaming market, also by Sensor Tower, discovered 82 per cent of the 29.6 billion new app downloads in Q3 2019 new installs are generated by just 1 per cent of app publishers. This means 99 per cent of games publishers share just 20 per cent of the market, with 6 billion downloads combined.

The report also determined the top 1 per cent of games generated 93 per cent of all spending, and 95% of mobile game revenue.

“There were more than 3.4 million apps available globally across the App Store and Google Play in 2018, an increase of 65 per cent from the 2.2 million apps available in 2014,” the report said. “However, the percentage of apps that have been downloaded at least 1,000 times has decreased over the same period, from 30 per cent in 2014 to 26 per cent in 2018. 

In other words, in a continually growing market where most publishers are competing against the publishers controlling 80 per cent of all new user acquisition, standing out among the competition is more crucial than ever.”

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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