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Consumer spending on the top 100 non-game subscription-based apps across mobile platforms grew 41% year-on-year to $18.3 billion in 2021, up from 13 billion in 2020, according to a new report from analytics firm Sensor Tower.

us-subscription-revenue-2021.jpg

According to the data, revenue from subscription apps purchased on the App Store and the Google Play Store represented around 14% of the $131.6 billion that consumers spent on in-app purchases last year, up from 11.7% in 2020.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, however, 86 of the top 100 earning non-game apps worldwide offered subscriptions, which is actually down slightly from 87 in the same quarter of 2020.

In keeping with historical trends, spending on subscription-based apps in Apple's ‌App Store‌ was vastly more than in the Google Play Store:
As in previous years, consumers spent more on subscription-based apps downloads from the App Store than on Google Play. The top 100 non-game subscription apps on the App Store generated $13.5 billion in 2021, up 31 percent Y/Y from $10.3 billion. Worldwide consumers spent $4.8 billion on the top 100 subscription apps on Google's marketplace, up 78 percent from $2.7 billion in 2020. While the top subscription apps on Google Play experienced more growth, the top apps on the App Store saw nearly three times as much spending last year.
Like in 2020, the only performance indicator in which the Google Play Store beat the ‌App Store‌ was in terms of year-on-year growth for U.S. user spending on subscription apps.
Consumer spending in the U.S. saw a similar breakdown, with the top 100 subscription apps generating $6 billion on the App Store, up 33 percent Y/Y from $4.5 billion. The cohort saw approximately $2.5 billion in consumer spending on Google Play, up 79 percent from $1.4 billion in 2020.
top-subscription-apps-2021-us.jpg


Google parent company Alphabet was once again the big winner this year in terms of subscription app spending, both globally and in the U.S. YouTube generated $1.2 billion worldwide and $566.5 million in the U.S., while Google One saw $1.1 billion worldwide and $698 million in the U.S. in 2021.

Despite the numbers, subscription-based apps generally divide ‌App Store‌ users between those for and against the revenue model. Apple began incentivizing developers to sell their apps for a recurring fee instead of a one-time cost when it made changes to its ‌‌App Store‌‌ subscription policies in 2016. Usually, Apple takes 30 percent of app revenue, but developers who are able to maintain a subscription with a customer longer than a year see Apple's cut drop down to 15 percent.

In late 2017, Apple began letting developers offer discounted introductory pricing and time-limited free trials on auto-renewable app subscriptions, based on the idea that subscriptions provide a higher likelihood of an engaged audience.

Article Link: Sensor Tower: iOS Users Spent $13.5 Billion on Top 100 Subscription Apps in 2021, Up 31% Year-on-Year
 
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diego.caraballo

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2013
372
959
I always find deceptive this kind of analysis. Besides Tinder, all other apps that made the top 10 are streaming/service platforms. So it's not the subscriptions market growing, but more people using personal devices to watch content.
I will like to know the spending in the non-streaming apps that offer subscriptions.
 

ddtmm

macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2010
203
633
31% increase year on year is impressive, but at these rates Google will surpass Apple in about 3years.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,881
15,025
In between a rock and a hard place
Pretty amazing how well youtube premium does... I really didn't think most people watched youtube religiously enough to pay for it...
Interesting info about Youtube: https://www.globalmediainsight.com/blog/youtube-users-statistics/
Youtube is massively popular and youtube premium is a standout example of people voting with their dollars. Almost universally people dislike ads in their content. Almost universally people say they'd be willing to pay for services without ads. In most cases, I think people are just giving lip service. Youtube is a content provider where the ad supported experience is so different from (absolutely terrible imo) the premium experience that the value of paying for the sub seems well worth it.

I know there are several ways to avoid ads on youtube, but I think most people aren't too bothered by the relatively small expense of premium. What you get is well worth it for me and a lot of others it seems.
 

JosephAW

macrumors 601
May 14, 2012
4,738
5,838
All my subscriptions are external of iOS except iCloud storage.
All my app purchases are internal with iOS and none external. :rolleyes:
 

webkit

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2021
621
408
United States
Interesting info about Youtube: https://www.globalmediainsight.com/blog/youtube-users-statistics/
Youtube is massively popular and youtube premium is a standout example of people voting with their dollars. Almost universally people dislike ads in their content. Almost universally people say they'd be willing to pay for services without ads. In most cases, I think people are just giving lip service. Youtube is a content provider where the ad supported experience is so different from (absolutely terrible imo) the premium experience that the value of paying for the sub seems well worth it.

I know there are several ways to avoid ads on youtube, but I think most people aren't too bothered by the relatively small expense of premium. What you get is well worth it for me and a lot of others it seems.

How are you reaching that conclusion? According to the article you linked to, YouTube Premium and YouTube Music together have only 50 million subscribers but YouTube has over 2 billion active uses. That would mean less than 2.5% of users choose to pay for premium.
 

4jasontv

Suspended
Jul 31, 2011
6,272
7,521
Pretty amazing how well youtube premium does... I really didn't think most people watched youtube religiously enough to pay for it...
In our home we have most platforms and YT is by far the most watched. It’s the easiest one to support as that payment goes directly towards creators we watch. Unlike say, all other platforms that take the subscription money and then cancel our favorite shows.
How are you reaching that conclusion? According to the article you linked to, YouTube Premium and YouTube Music together have only 50 million subscribers but YouTube has over 2 billion active uses. That would mean less than 2.5% of users choose to pay for premium.
YTP and YTM should be the same number since the services are bundled. I wonder about the number of users though. I have 7 YouTube accounts, and I probably watch with all of them at some point each year, but >99% is on one account. I’m not sure how much can be gained. From the statistic provided.
 

mansplains

macrumors 6502
Jan 8, 2021
479
646
I used to accept subscriptions and thought they were great for some developers who really crafted fine products. But now it's so saturated where everyone wants that recurring money you forget about. Then there's scumscriptions like the Miraculous Ladybug game having a weekly $8 sub... a game rated for ages 12+ and reading the reviews that are clearly written by children talking about ungodly amounts of advertisements in lieu of the weekly sub.
 

b656

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2016
69
255
New York
I wonder why there is no YouTube love on the Google Play store.
Is the YT Premium feature given for free on Android?
Otherwise, why such a drastic difference?
 

alex2792

macrumors 65816
Jun 13, 2009
1,092
2,778
Pretty amazing how well youtube premium does... I really didn't think most people watched youtube religiously enough to pay for it...
YouTube premium is great, just use a VPN to get Argentinian price of $1.50 or so per month. Great value.
 

Ken Linger

macrumors regular
Jul 18, 2016
111
175
Phoenix, AZ
Every time MacRumors mentions an update or change to an app where it goes into a subscription model, there are pages of comments from readers about how much they hate subscriptions and how they'll never support anything said company does in the future. I'm often one of them.

Reports like this show, however, that the masses, in general, love the "just a cup of coffee" business model. People speak with their wallets and I'm sure this just helped convince more companies to switch to subscriptions. "We may alienate some customers but look how much more we're making now!"
 
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Runway

macrumors newbie
Dec 3, 2020
12
7
Northern California
Since streaming services are the big winner here, good journalism would compare the same time period to cable/satellite providers that provide the SAME SERVICE. Did they decrease by the same number? Is this growth in consumption or just a re-alignment of the chairs on the deck?
 

webkit

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2021
621
408
United States
YTP and YTM should be the same number since the services are bundled. I wonder about the number of users though. I have 7 YouTube accounts, and I probably watch with all of them at some point each year, but >99% is on one account. I’m not sure how much can be gained. From the statistic provided.

If you are only using most of your YouTube accounts sparingly, they probably wouldn't be included in stats.

I think stats like these can always be questioned but from the information being provided, it just doesn't look like YouTube Premium is all that popular as far as percentage of users. 50 million is a pretty small number versus over 2 billion active users.
 

4jasontv

Suspended
Jul 31, 2011
6,272
7,521
If you are only using most of your YouTube accounts sparingly, they probably wouldn't be included in stats.

I think stats like these can always be questioned but from the information being provided, it just doesn't look like YouTube Premium is all that popular as far as percentage of users. 50 million is a pretty small number versus over 2 billion active users.
My point is that they likely don't have 2 billion active users if accounts used sparingly were to be excluded. Did they provide a definition of an active user? Say, does an account need to watch 100 hours of content before it's considered active, or are they including every account that watched any second of video at any point in the past year? I guess we need to know what 'active user' means. Since YT knows all the accounts are associated with me, are they reducing my seven accounts to one active user, or are they reporting me as seven users?
 

w5jck

macrumors 65816
Nov 9, 2013
1,210
1,584
Looks like most of the top apps are content streamers. So no big surprise there! Every crap TV channel now wants us to pay them for content, reruns, and commercials. The only thing this study shows is that we are stupid enough to pay for lousy content, which is mostly reruns and filled with commercials, whenever the content providers hold the metaphorical gun to our heads and extort our hard earned money.
 
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