The pandemic’s effect on the global app market has not been hard to miss. In the first quarter and first half of this year, consumer spending in mobile apps hit new records at $32 billion and $64.9 billion, respectively. It can be tough to call out exact numbers on consumer spending in Africa because the continent gets hardly a mention in global app market reports. Yet, other metrics are worth looking at. A new piece of information from AppsFlyer in collaboration with Google has some critical insights into how the African app market has fared since the pandemic broke out last year. The report tracked mobile app activities across three of Africa’s largest
app markets (Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa) between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021. From the first half of 2020 to the first half of 2021, the African mobile app industry (predominantly Android) increased by 41% in overall installs. This was analyzed from 6,000 apps and 2 billion installs in the three markets. Nigeria registered the highest growth, with a 43% rise; South Africa’s market increased by 37%, and Kenya increased 29%.
On March 22, 2020, Rwanda imposed Africa’s first lockdown. Subsequently, other countries followed; (those in the report) Kenya (March 25), South Africa (March 27), and Nigeria (March 30). As more people spent time at home from Q2 2020, app installs increased by 20% across the three countries. South Africans were the quickest to take to their phones as the lockdowns hit, with installs rising by 17% from the previous quarter.
On the other hand, Nigerians and Kenyans recorded a 2% and 9% increase, respectively. The report attributes the disparity to the varying levels of restrictions each country faced; South Africa experienced the strictest and most frequent. Per the report, gaming apps showed strong performance between Q1 and Q2 2020. The segment experienced a 50% growth compared to an 8% increase in nongaming apps pulled. It followed a global trend where gaming apps surged to a record high in Q2 2020, at 14 billion downloads globally.