YouTube is currently number one in terms of consumer spending, according to a report on global app spend in the first quarter of 2021.

New data from App Annie shows that app spend records were broken in general in the first few months of 2021, and nowhere was this more common than on the YouTube app.

YouTube is rising to the number 1 app by consumer spending

YouTube usurped TikTok and Tinder to become the leader in in-app purchases.

Consumer spending on apps is growing at an unprecedented rate. As of the first quarter of 2021, app spend has increased 40% year over year. This is further evidence of the impact the pandemic is having on the app market.

Smartphone users spent around $ 9 billion more on apps and games in the first quarter of 2021 than in the first quarter of 2020.

In-app spend growth has increased by the same percentage on iOS and Android, and downloads have also increased significantly on both platforms.

App Annie's latest report comes with a huge amount of data on the state of the app market in 2021. In this post, I'll focus on data related to YouTube as the earning potential of video artists is greater than ever.

YouTube App Issues: What Are People Buying?

One of the most important questions that might come to mind when listening to YouTube is the number one consumer spending app: What are people spending money on?

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It is an app that people can use to watch videos for free. So it is sensible to question where the money is going.

App Annie's report doesn't go into the detailed details of certain in-app purchases, but there are a number of ways to spend money on YouTube. Many of them directly contribute to the creator's proceeds.

YouTube in-app purchases include:

  • YouTube Premium: A monthly subscription that removes ads on all videos and offers users exclusive features.
  • Channel memberships: A monthly subscription to a specific channel that can be associated with various benefits.
  • Great chat: Viewers can pay to highlight chat messages during a creator's live stream.
  • Super sticker: Viewers can pay to send stickers in a chat during a creator's live stream.

Channel memberships, super chats and super stickers flow directly into a creator's income.

The surge in in-app spending on YouTube suggests that these features are popular with viewers. This shows that users would be happy to support their favorite creators when they could otherwise use the content for free.

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Users consume a lot of YouTube content lately, which could well be a contributing factor to the increase in consumer spending.

YouTube viewership is 6x higher than other streaming apps

Looking back on 2020, App Annie reports that smartphone users watch YouTube 6x more often than the closest streaming app.

YouTube is rising to the number 1 app by consumer spending

YouTube viewers see an average of 38 hours of content each month. In 2020, YouTube was the number 1 video streaming app in terms of time spent in all analyzed markets (except China).

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Mobile video streaming is rampant across the board, with App Annie reporting 40% more hours on mobile in 2020 than in 2019.

The time spent streaming apps peaked in the US in the second quarter of 2020. This was around the time the first wave of COVID-19 was forcing people into the home.

YouTube is rising to the number 1 app by consumer spending

In 2021, App Annie predicts the average mobile streamer in the US, South Korea and the UK will download 85%, 80% and 60% more video streaming apps, respectively, than before the pandemic.

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In other words, the meteoric rise of mobile video streaming is a new normal for the web.

For more information on mobile app usage in 2021, please see App Annie's full report here.

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