Welcome to another installment of our Pulse on Current App Trends report. Every month we round up the key insights on app trends from the previous month to help you better market your app. This month we’re reviewing August 2021 trends, including top apps globally, increasing downloads of COVID-related apps and the rise of shopping apps in LATAM.
COVID App Downloads Are On the Rise
Installs of the top eight vaccine verification apps in the U.S. climbed to 1.6 million in August, up 79% from growth in July. This reflects the increasing adoption of vaccine verification apps as businesses and local governments require people to show their proof of vaccination status.
Source: Sensor Tower
Rising in tandem with the increase in vaccine verification apps are at-home COVID testing kit apps. Home testing kits such as BinaxNOW and Ellume give consumers the ability to check their test results using the Navica and Ellume apps. This, in turn, has resulted in a sharp uptick in COVID testing kit app downloads over the summer. Both apps reached over 50,000 downloads in July and spiked to over 100,000 downloads in August. Combined, both apps have driven over 770,000 downloads.
Source: Sensor Tower
While at-home COVID testing apps are on the rise, there is no clear leader in the category. According to Sensor Tower, consumers have given mixed reviews for the COVID home testing apps, citing ongoing issues. These include false positive test results and error messages, indicating the user experience of testing apps still requires refinement.
Calm tops the download charts in August
Meditation app, Calm, surpassed 100 million downloads worldwide at the end of August, becoming the most downloaded meditation app globally. Calm’s steady performance indicates the consistent demand for mindfulness support over the last 8 years. It also shows the accelerated call for mental health resources during the pandemic as consumers turn to apps for wellness support.
Notably, Calm not only took the #1 spot for most downloaded meditation app, it also was the #1 meditation app globally by consumer spend. Notably, Calm also took the #1 spot for health and fitness apps overall in terms of consumer spend.
In H1 2021, Calm became the #1 Health and Fitness app by consumer spend in the US, Canada and India.
Source: App Annie
As a use case, Calm serves as an example of successful monetization through a subscription-based payment model. Calm charges users on a monthly or annual basis for access to guided meditations, sleep stories, masterclasses, breathing exercises and other content. In-app subscription-based services like Calm have grown as a monetization strategy as consumers increasingly integrate mobile services into their day-to-day lives. This monetization strategy serves as an alternative to other tactics, such as in-app advertising.
Mobile Shopping is Not Stopping in LATAM
Since the start of the pandemic, Latin America has become one the fastest-growing app markets in the world with the rise of a young, mobile-first generation and high smartphone penetration across all socioeconomic groups. This was further accelerated by the unique conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic which enhanced mobile app adoption across almost every industry.
These trends have contributed to the high growth of ecommerce retail apps in LATAM. Across spanish-speaking LATAM, Mexico and Brazil, consumers spent up to 60% more on in-app purchases and subscriptions in Q1 2021 year-over-year. In August, there were more installs of the top ecommerce retailer apps in LATAM than there were during the first months of the pandemic. This shows the acceleration of ecommerce due to environmental circumstances from last summer to this summer.
Shopee takes the lead in LATAM mcommerce
Also of note is the sharp rise of Shopee as the top shopping app in LATAM. Singapore-based app, Shopee, overtook Mercado Libre as the most-used ecommerce app in LATAM by monthly active users (MAU) earlier this year. Shopee first overtook Mercado Libre due to its initial successful launch in Mexico. Its most recent growth has been fueled by successful launches in both Columbia and Chile.
Shopee’s rise reflects the potential success of investing in growth in emerging markets. The Singapore-based app first launched in Southeast Asia in October 2019 and went on to launch in Brazil. Brazil has since become the largest market for Shopee by MAU, even outpacing its performance in Indonesia. Today, Shopee is the largest shopping app in both Latin America and Southeast Asia, two of the fastest-growing markets in mobile.
While LATAM is, without a doubt, a high growth app market, retention is an increasingly pressing issue. As more mature markets like the U.S. can attest, getting users to download apps is the easy part. Keeping users engaged past the initial download is the new challenge facing LATAM mobile marketers.
Top Apps in August 2021
Most Downloaded Non-Gaming Apps
Tiktok continues to be the most downloaded non-game app. In August 2021, the video sharing app drove 66 million downloads. The countries with the largest number of installs were China at 15%, and the US at 10%.
Instagram was the second most installed non-gaming app worldwide last month with more than 59 million installs. Leading growth was India at 36% of installs and Indonesia at 6% of installs. Facebook-owned Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger rounded out the top five most installed non-gaming apps worldwide for the month.
Source: Sensor Tower
Most Downloaded Gaming Apps
My Talking Angela 2 was the most downloaded mobile game worldwide in August 2021 with 28.5 million downloads. The countries with the largest number of installs were India and Brazil.
Fidget Toys Trading was the second most installed mobile game worldwide with 27 million installs. The countries with the largest number of installs were Brazil followed by Indonesia.
Source: Sensor Tower
The global mobile games market generated 4.7 billion downloads across the App Store and Google Play in August 2021. This marked a 4% year-over-year decline. Globally, the top market for game downloads was India, with 825 million installs. This accounted for 17.6% of total worldwide downloads. India was followed by the US, which generated 8.3% of global downloads. In third place, Brazil generated 8.2% of global game installs.
August 2021 also marked the first month this year that Hypercasual games as a category has dipped below 1 billion installs. This was the category’s lowest performance since November 2020. The dip in installs for the Hypercasual game category which has dominated the top charts in recent years could be due to user-ID changes and the impact on targeted UA campaigns.
In this installment of our Pulse on Current App Trends report, we reviewed August 2021 trends, including top apps globally, increasing downloads of COVID-related apps and the rise of shopping apps in LATAM.
- As more businesses and local governments move to require proof of vaccine, downloads of vaccine verification apps have risen. Installs of the top eight vaccine verification apps in the U.S. climbed to 1.6 million in August, up 79% from growth in July.
- Apps related to at-home COVID testing kits are also on the rise. Apps for home testing kits, BinaxNOW and Ellume, drove over 770,000 downloads combined in August.
- Calm became the #1 spot for most downloaded meditation app. The app surpassed 1 million downloads in August. Calm’s steady performance over the last 8 years reflects the consistent and rising demand for mindfulness support.
- Shopee became the top shopping app in LATAM in August, surpassing Mercado Libre in MAUs. While the rise of shopping apps in LATAM reflects the high-growth potential in the market, it also signals the need to focus on retaining newly acquired users.
- TikTok was the top non-gaming app in global downloads overall in August 2021. My Talking Angela 2 was the top gaming app in global downloads.
- August was the first month since November 2020 that Hypercasual games did not dominate the charts. The category dipped below 1 billion installs in August. This could be due to user-ID impacts on highly targeted UA campaigns.