App monetization strategy shouldn’t be a result of guesswork. The most successful app developers make assumptions on the basis of facts and figures. So here are some of the recent statistics that can help developers distinguish the prevalent trends in mobile monetization and forecast the pace of the industry growth.

Global mobile app revenue through the years

The first thing that app developers need to know is whether app monetization is still a lucrative business. Even as the competition increases with the growing number of available apps, it is certain that revenues generated by mobile app owners have been increasing too. The graph below shows the progress of global mobile revenues from 2015 to 2016, and the projected figure for 2020. In 2015, global mobile app revenues amounted to 69.7 billion USD Whereas, in 2020, mobile apps are projected to generate 188.9 billion USD. The statistics clearly show positive dynamics for app developers.  

app monetization stats

Worldwide mobile app revenues in 2015, 2016 and 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars).


The boom in earnings can be attributed to the exponential growth of mobile industry in emerging markets, in India, China and Southeast Asia. According to TechCrunch, the income increase can also come from Apple’s newer support for in-app subscriptions.

Which channels bring the most revenue in 2017?

The chart shows the distribution of revenue, generated by mobile apps in 2017, sorted by channel. Overall, video ads are the most lucrative for the developers of gaming apps, as 36% of revenue is generated through this ad format. For non-gaming apps, m-commerce is the top channel for app monetization, having supplied up to 43% of the total income. Display ads proved to be reasonably effective both for gaming apps and apps in other categories. Affiliate deals turned out to be the least profitable channel in 2017.

app monetization best channels

Distribution of worldwide mobile application revenues in 2017, by channel.


Top regions for app monetization

The data on app revenue by region shows that the biggest share of income is generated in APAC and North and South America. The EMEA region delivers a smaller share of revenue, compared with other markets: 16.5 billion USD in 2016 to 36.9 billion USD coming from APAC in the same year. While North America remains the leader in terms of in-app spending and ad views, mobile expansion in Asia contributes to the increase in revenue of app developers, who choose to run monetization campaigns there.

top regions for app monetization

Worldwide mobile app revenues in 2015, 2016 and 2020, by region (in billion U.S. dollars).


Most popular SDKs across mobile apps

For tracking user behavior and engagement, app developers install mobile analytics software development kits (SDKs). The graph below shows the share of mobile apps worldwide that used selected SDKs in 2017. According to Statista, Google Tag Manager was the most popular mobile analytics SDK, reaching more than 63% of users. Facebook Analytics ranked second with a 21.17% of mobile app developers preferring this SDK. Google Analytics, Flurry and Fabric also made into top 5 of the most popular services, with 18.51%, 16.78% and 12.96% of the app owners respectively.
popular SDK for mobile app analytics

Most popular installed mobile analytics software development kits (SDKs) across global mobile apps in 2017.


Top categories in app stores, by share of available apps  

Which app categories are the most popular with the audience? Judging by the number of available apps in the App Store, the majority of app developers work in the Games category. This can be explained by high user engagement rates and the variety of available opportunities for app monetization. For example, apps like Clash of Clans generate over 1.2 million USD per day. Business takes the second place by the number of apps on offer, with Education and Lifestyle closely following. The Shopping, Medical and News categories are at the bottom of the list, each taking up less than 2% of the total number of apps.

app categories apple apps store for monetization

Most popular Apple App Store categories in May 2018, by share of available apps.

In Google Play, top categories include Education, Entertainment, Lifestyle and Business. The majority of apps uploaded to the Google app store belong to this category. The graph below doesn’t include Game apps. However, the cumulative number of all available gaming apps exceeds half a million and makes Games the most popular app category for Android, just as it is for iOS.  

App categories in Google Play for app monetization

The total number of apps, free apps and paid apps per Google Play category.


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