What just happened? Spending on mobile apps saw an impressive 11.3 percent year-on-year growth on Christmas, as money spent across the App Store and Google Play reached $277 million. Most of this went on mobile games, which accounted for $210 million, or 76 percent, of the total amount.
The report from mobile analyst firm Sensor Tower shows that consumer spending on apps and games totaled almost $5.1 billion globally during December—8 percent more than the same period last year—with around 5 percent of that coming on Christmas Day.
Not too surprisingly, the top-grossing mobile game on Christmas was PUBG. The battle royale game made an incredible $8.5 million from in-game spending on the day, up 431 percent from the $1.6 million it made last Christmas.
2019 was a bumper year for PUBG. It might be facing challenges from the likes of Fortnite and Apex Legends on PC, but it’s dominating on mobile, becoming the genre’s first title to pass $1 billion in revenue on the platform—mostly thanks to China.
Christmas is always a profitable time for mobile apps and games, mostly due to new device sales, first-time mobile users, and consumers who’ve received gift cards. Even non-game apps saw a 2 percent increase in spending compared to the previous year, making around $67 million. The majority of money in this category—24 percent—came from entertainment apps such as Disney+ and Tencent Video, though the top non-gaming app for spending was Tinder, with $2.1 million.
As usual, Apple’s App Store accounted for most of the money. It took $193 million (70 percent), up 16 percent YoY, while $84 million was spent on Google Play, which marks 2.7 percent yearly growth.
While spending on apps grew in the US, the 4.8 percent increase wasn’t as high as the global figure. But both American and worldwide spending has now reached record levels.