Nigeria has emerged as the largest market for mobile applications in Africa, recording the most growth in downloads in 2020. But users in South Africa bought more from retailers within the apps than in other markets.

A report released by AppsFlyer in collaboration with Google analysed over 6000 Apps and 2 billion installs across South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya between the first and second quarters of 2020. The results from the study showed that the mobile App saw significant growth with overall installs increasing by 41 percent. Nigeria recorded the biggest growth at 43 percent; South Africa came in second with a 37 percent increase, while Kenya saw 29 percent growth in the period.

The growth was driven by a growing fintech space, a jump in the number of super apps’, and the COVID-19 pandemic which enforced a new way of making transactions on many individuals and businesses. As the lockdown forced people to spend more time at home, it translated to an overall app installs of 20 percent. In South Africa, that meant a 17 percent jump in mobile App installs but it wasn’t as pronounced in Nigeria and Kenya as both only saw increases of 2 percent and 9 percent respectively. South Africa had the strictest lockdown of the three countries.

The report also showed that in-app purchases soared in the third quarter (July-September) of 2020 with a 136 percent increase compared to the previous quarter. The average share of paying individuals rose to 20 percent accounting for a third of the year’s total in-app purchasing revenue, indicating just how much African users were spending within mobile apps, from retail purchases to gaming upgrades.

South Africa recorded the most revenue with a 213 percent growth compared to Nigeria and Kenya which saw 141 percent and 74 percent respectively. The growth was driven mostly by non-gaming Apps which saw a 173 percent growth rate in the third quarter. “The mobile App space in Africa is thriving, despite the turmoil of the last year. Installs are growing, and consumers are spending more money than ever before, highlighting just how important mobile can be for businesses when it comes to driving revenue,” Daniel Junowicz, RVP EMEA and Strategic Projects, AppsFlyer said.

Advertisers are also pushing more paid content Android-enabled devices due to its large market share. Non-organic installs increased by 54 percent compared to 19 percent recorded by Apple’s iOS. The cost per install (CPI) on iOS jumped by 21 percent between Q2 and Q3 2020, which meant iOS app developers were getting fewer installs for the same budget. Towards the end of the year and into 2021, there was no uplift in non-organic installs on iOS compared to the 40 percent growth on Android.

South Africa and Nigeria saw year-on-year growth in finance App installs by 116 percent and 60 percent respectively, as the need to reduce social contact has led to even more users adopting digital solutions for their financial needs. “While it’s clear that mobile adoption is increasing, there’s still room for growth when it comes to app marketing, with many marketers in the nascent stage of their app maturity journey,” Rama Afullo, Apps Lead for Africa at Google, said.

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