Users spent nearly 325 billion hours on Android apps over the course of the third quarter of the year, app analytics company App Annie revealed on Monday as part of its latest Market Index Report. The figure marks a 40 percent annual growth, with the Android ecosystem being likely to maintain this momentum in the near term, App Annie's report suggests. In terms of general mobile app performance, the analytics company predicted that the Google Play Store and iOS App Store combined will come close to reaching 240 billion downloads by 2021. Consumers are also expected to spend more than $100 billion in mobile apps on an annual basis four years from now, as per the firm's forecast.
In-app spend is growing at a rate three times larger to that of total app downloads and may suggest that the global market for mobile software is maturing, with Android users still downloading more apps but owners of iOS devices spending more in apps, as was the case in previous years, App Annie said, adding that the third quarter of the year saw both demographics spend $17 billion combined, 28 percent more compared to the same period last year. Android app downloads hovered around the 17 billion mark in Q3 2017, growing by 125 percent year-on-year. On the other hand, App Annie estimates approximately 16 billion iOS app downloads occurred during the three-month period ending September 30, with this particular figure marking a 115 percent annual increase. In other words, Android apps are outpacing their iOS counterparts even faster than before in terms of installs. India was one of the main contributors to the growth of Android app downloads which almost doubled in the South Asian country over the last 12 months, the report reveals.
Just like Android is increasing its lead over iOS in terms of app downloads, iOS is outpacing its rival in regards to in-app spend by a margin that's gradually becoming wider. App Annie estimates that over $11 billion was spent in iOS apps in Q3 2017, 95 percent more compared to the Android ecosystem, whereas the difference between the two was "only" 90 percent in Q3 2016. Entertainment-focused apps were particularly popular on both platforms during the last quarter, growing their spend by 45 percent on Android in comparison to the same quarter last year and becoming the third largest genre on the Google Play Store, thus achieving its highest ranking ever.