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Record 3.8 trillion hours for mobile apps in 2021 in another blockbuster year for the digital economy

Top line

According to a new report from app analytics firm App Annie, people were spending more time on mobile apps in 2021 than ever before during the pandemic.

The use of mobile apps increased sharply during the pandemic


Important facts

In the top ten countries analyzed in App Annie’s State-of-Mobile study, the average person spent 4.8 hours a day on their mobile phone for the past year – a third of the waking hours and more than 30 % compared to 2019.

Users in Brazil, Indonesia, and South Korea spent the most time on the phone, over five hours per day, closely followed by users in Mexico, India, and Japan.

Americans spent an average of 4.1 hours a day using mobile devices over the past year, more time than watching TV (3.1 hours a day, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Social, photo and video apps like Facebook, TikTok and YouTube were by far the most popular mobile apps, the company found, accounting for 7 out of 10 minutes spent on mobile devices last year.

TikTok was a tremendous success, according to App Annie, as time spent on the app increased 90% over the past year in markets outside of China worldwide.

Big number

$ 170 billion. That’s how much consumers spent on apps last year, according to App Annie, almost 20% more than last year. The vast majority of that – $ 116 billion – comes from mobile games and a select number of powerful apps. Last year, 233 apps and games each generated over $ 100 million in consumer spend, 13 of which exceeded $ 1 billion. That’s one-fifth more than in 2020, when consumers spent over $ 100 million on 193 apps and games, only eight of which were more than $ 1 billion.


The mobile ecosystem has remained healthy throughout the pandemic, found App Annie. In 2021, publishers released 2 million new games and apps, and ad spend increased 23% year over year to over $ 295 billion.

further reading

Video and live streaming apps fuel a new social media boom (Forbes)

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