The pandemic’s effect on the global app market has not been hard to miss. In the first quarter and first half of this , consumer spending in mobile apps hit new records at $32 billion and $64.9 billion, respectively. It can be tough to call out exact numbers on consumer spending in Africa because the continent gets hardly a mention in global app market reports. Yet, other metrics are worth looking at. A new piece of information from AppsFlyer in collaboration with Google has some important insights into how the African app market has fared since the pandemic broke out .
The report tracked mobile app activities across three of Africa’s largest app markets (Kenya, Nigeria, and ) between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021. From the first half of 2020 to the first half of 2021, the African industry (predominantly Android) increased by 41% in overall installs. This was analyzed from 6,000 in the three markets. Nigeria registered the highest growth, with a 43% rise; market increased by 37%, and Kenya increased by 29%.
On March 22, 2020, Rwanda . Subsequently, other countries followed; (those in the report) Kenya (March 25), (March 27), and Nigeria (March 30). As more people spent time at home from Q2 2020, app installs increased by 20% across the three countries. South Africans were the quickest to take to their phones as the lockdowns hit, with installs rising by 17% from the previous quarter. On the other hand, Nigerians and Kenyans recorded a 2% and 9% increase, respectively. The report attributes the disparity to the varying levels of restrictions each country faced; experienced the strictest and most frequent. Per the report, gaming apps showed strong performance between Q1 and Q2 2020. The segment experienced a 50% growth compared to an 8% increase in nongaming . It followed a global trend where gaming high in Q2 2020, at 14 billion downloads globally.
In-app purchasing revenue and almost year-on-year growth
According to AppsFlyer, the most significant trend it noticed was in in-app purchasing revenue. In Q3 2020, in-app purchasing revenue nrew with a staggering 136% increase compared to Q2 2020. They accounted for 33% of 2020’s total revenue, “highlighting just how much African , from retail purchases to gaming upgrades.” In-app purchasing revenue among South African consumers increased by 213%, while Nigeria and Kenyan consumers recorded 141% and 74% increases, respectively. On the advertising front and on an almost year-on-year basis, in-app advertising revenue also increased significantly as Africans were glued to their smartphones more than ever. Per the report, in-app advertising revenue increased 167% between Q2 2020 to Q1 2021. Gaming and nongaming apps, highlighted between the first two quarters, increased by 44% and 40% in Q1 2021 compared to Q2 2020.
Fintech and super apps
In the , fintech has dominated VC investments in African startups. It’s a no-brainer why there is so much affinity for the sector. Fintechs create so much value for Africa’s mobile-first population, with large sections of unbanked, underbanked, and banked people. This value is why all but one of the continent’s is fintech. According to a Disrupt Africa report, African fintechs have grown by 89.4% between 2017 and 2021. Now, there are more than 570 startups on the continent. Many fintechs are mobile-based, reflecting the number of fintech use daily. 116% and 60% year-on-year finance app installs, respectively.