What the mobile application market left us in 2021

Adjust launched posted Mobile App Trends 2022, where it analyzes various important data from the mobile apps world. Below we bring you the most outstanding news of the report.

Alt: datos de la industria de aplicaciones móviles 2021


The challenges

The mobile application market industry had to face changes in user consumption habits caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as reduced mobility, economic crash, and social distancing. It also had to deal with new measures on user privacy, mainly in the release of iOS 14.5 in April, which involved a paradigm change in the industry. 


Despite these challenges, the mobile app ecosystem continued to thrive, demonstrating its strength and adaptability.


The numbers

In 2021, consumer spending in the mobile application market increased by 19% compared to 2020, reaching USD 170.000 million. Advertising spending also hit a record USD 288 billion and is forecast to grow to USD 336 billion by 2022.


Mobile marketing showed that it was ready for its expansion, applications have become essential allies for users lives. The industry is bigger than ever and shows no signs of slowing down as the consumer reach and quality of services offered expands.


Featured Categories

Fintech, e-commerce and gaming are the 3 most prominent categories. These verticals continue to demonstrate industry best practices by offering great opportunities for developers and advertisers. Installations have grown year after year in all categories. Fintech was up 35%, E-commerce 12% and Gaming 32%.


Let's review some of these categories highlights:



  • USD 6.8 billion in revenue, an 88% increase from 2020.

  • LATAM grew 62% in installations.

  • Downloads reached 573.1 million in the US alone, up 19% compared to 2020.

  • 52% of purchases were made with a digital wallet.

  • The main uses of Fintech apps by users in North America were paying bills, banking, filing taxes, transferring money to friends, investing, and buying and selling cryptocurrencies.

  • Mobile e-commerce retail sales reached USD 3.56 billion worldwide, 22.3% more than in 2020.

  • 67% of e-commerce sales were made through mobile devices.

  • 55% of people who made a purchase with their smartphones did so after seeing an ad on social media.



  • Mobile games accounted for 52% of global consumer gaming spending in 2021, reaching USD 93.2 billion, an increase of 7.3% compared to the previous year.

  • LATAM grew by 35% and EMEA by 33%.

  • Advertising investment grew by 23% year-on-year, reaching USD 295,000 million.



  • It had a 12% year-over-year increase in installs.

  • The two markets that grew the most were EMEA and LATAM, 18% and 14% year-on-year growth, respectively.

  • The length of e-commerce sessions has increased year over year since 2019, from 10.07 minutes in 2019 to 10.42 minutes in 2020, and 10.75 minutes in 2021.


The mobile app market has faced huge challenges in the last 24 months, the COVID-19 pandemic, new privacy policies, and changes to UA on iOS. Despite this, the growing need for apps in markets around the world, coupled with a huge push from UA, has resulted in an unprecedented rise in app downloads and interactions. The data shows tremendous growth in installs, sessions, and post-install activity.


On the other hand, retention is lagging a bit, indicating the importance of ensuring that as much attention is paid strategically to retention as user acquisition.


The app industry has never been so saturated. This has caused the cost of acquisition to skyrocket, and as a consequence, retention has become even more important. The best performing brands are the ones that understand that personalization is not enough; you need to individualize engagement at scale and create a relevant experience across the user journey.


Marketers and developers are paying more than ever for users, so it's crucial that lifetime user value (LTV) and retention are integrated as part of an overall user acquisition effort. Acquiring high LTV and loyal users is also essential as part of a long-term marketing strategy. By delving into the data, you can identify key moments to offer users content and thus increase their interactions.

From the performance of several major industry players, it is clear that highly skilled and data-driven UA teams, those who develop smart SKAdNetwork strategies, those who work to improve retention and continue to find, attribute and measure audiences new and existing as Rocket Lab, will differentiate themselves from the competition by achieving better results.