Welcome back to This Week in Apps, a weekly TechCrunch summary of mobile OS news, apps, and the app industry.
According to the latest year-end reports, the app sector will continue to develop, with record downloads and consumer expenditure in 2021. In 2021, Chinese consumers spent $170 billion on apps from Apple, Google, and third-party developers. App downloads climbed 5% to 230 billion in 2021, while mobile ad spend grew 23% to $295 billion.
Consumers today spend more time on apps than ever before, often even more than watching TV. The average American watches 3.1 hours of TV every day, but will spend 4.1 hours on their phone in 2021. They aren’t even the world’s most avid smartphone users. Customers spent more than 5 hours each day on mobile apps in Brazil, Indonesia, and South Korea.
Apps aren’t only for killing time. They can grow into large companies. In 2021, 233 apps and games made over $100 million, while 13 made over $1 billion. In 2020, 193 apps and games surpassed $100 million in annual customer spend, and only eight apps surpassed $1 billion.
This Week in Apps brings together the latest news, updates, startup funding, mergers and acquisitions, and tips for new apps to try.
In 2016, TechCrunch published an article citing research showing that by the age of 11,3 years old, 39% of kids had social media accounts. Earlier reports stated even younger kids were acquiring smartphones. That is, we have known for a long time that kids use smartphones and social media apps. And yet, it took Instagram this long to introduce parental controls?