— Mobile

Driven by live streams, consumer spending in social apps to hit $17.2B in 2025 – TechCrunch

The live streaming boom is driving a significant uptick in the creator economy, as a new forecast estimates consumers will spend $6.78 billion in social apps in 2021. According to data from mobile data firm App Annie, that figure will grow to $17.2 billion annually by 2025, which notes the upward trend represents a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29%. The firm reports that the lifetime total spent on social apps will reach $78 billion by that point.

Image Credits: App Annie

Initially, much of the Livestream economy was based on one-off purchases like sticker packs, but today, consumers gift content creators directly during their live streams. Some of these donations can be incredibly high at times. Twitch streamer ExoticChaotic was given $75,000 during a live session on Fortnite, one of the largest ever donations on the game streaming social network. Meanwhile, App Annie notes another platform, Bigo Live, enables broadcasters to earn up to $24,000 per month through their live streams.

Apps that offer live streaming as a prominent feature are also driving the majority of today’s social app spending, the report says. In the first half of this year, $3 out of every $4 spent in the top 25 social apps came from apps that offered live streams, for example.

Image Credits: App Annie

During the first half of 2021, the U.S. will become the top consumer spending inside social apps, with 1.7x the spending of the next largest market, Japan, representing 30% of the market by spending. China, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea followed to round out the top 5.

Image Credits: App Annie

While both creators and the platforms benefit financially from the live streaming economy, the media benefit in other ways beyond their commissions on in-app purchases. Live streams are helping to drive demand for these social apps, and they help boost other key engagement metrics, like time spent in-app.

One top app that’s significantly gaining here is TikTok.

Last year, TikTok surpassed YouTube in the U.S. and the U.K. regarding the average monthly time spent per user. It often continues to lead in the former market and more decisively leads in the latter.

Image Credits: App Annie

Image Credits: App Annie

In other markets, like South Korea and Japan, TikTok is making strides, but YouTube still leads by a wide margin. (In South Korea, YouTube shows by 2.5x, in fact.)

Image Credits: App Annie

Beyond just TikTok, consumers spent 740 billion hours in social apps in the first half of the year, equal to 44% of the time spent on mobile globally. Time spent in these apps has continued to trend upwards over the years, with growth up 30% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2018.

Today, the apps that enable live streaming are outpacing those focusing on chat, photo, or video. This is why companies like Instagram are now announcing dramatic shifts in focus, like how they’re “no longer a photo-sharing app.” They know they need to more fully shift to video, or they will be left behind.

The total time spent in the top five social apps that emphasize live streaming is now set to surpass half a trillion hours on Android phones alone this year, not including China. App Annie noted that that’s a three-year CAGR of 25% versus just 15% for apps in the Chat and Photo & Video categories.

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