AppsFlyer report finds 55% surge in consumer spend in eCommerce apps leading into the 2021 Holiday Season

COVID-19 continues to drive eCommerce growth in 2021, but Apple’s iOS 14 and ATT are impacting how marketers are approaching acquisition and remarketing budgets.

SAN FRANCISCO – October 5, 2021 —  AppsFlyer, the marketing measurement and experience platform, today released the 2021 edition of its State of eCommerce App Marketing report, outlining key global trends to guide marketers in building a mobile-first experience that will drive engagement and sales for the upcoming holiday season. 

This year, retail apps are already approaching  peak usage levels from the 2020 holiday season, so the eCommerce industry is entering the last quarter of 2021 with an elevated baseline. With eCommerce installs increasing 55% on Android and 32% on iOS in 2021, and consumer spend climbing 55% overall, the Q4 holiday season is expected to be record-breaking.

“To make the most of the holiday season, retailers should put mobile, and particularly mobile apps, at the heart of their Q4 strategy,” said Shani Rosenfelder, Head of Content & Mobile Insight, AppsFlyer. “For marketers, this means ensuring a smooth transition from mobile web to app, where performance is significantly higher. It also means bringing the communication with existing buyers to wherever they are, and making sure they use deep linking to reach the right destination within the app smoothly and contextually.” 

Key US Insights: 

  • App Installs are up 36% compared to pre-pandemic levels. Accelerated digital transformation led to the year-over-year install spike compared to pre-pandemic times. 
  • In-app spend is up 35% and is on track to increase to 42% by November. So far in 2021, consumers have generated 35% more revenue in eCommerce apps compared to 2020. 2021 in-app spend peaked in March, exceeding the previous March by 156%.
  • iOS remarketing conversion is down 50% months after iOS 14.5 launch. As of August 2021, 83% of US iOS eCommerce app users have upgraded to iOS 14.5 or higher, and 42% of prompted users have opted in, dramatically reducing remarketing audience sizes. Android remarketing conversions  dropped by 10% over the same time frame.

Key Global Insights:

  • Global eCommerce app installs are rising by almost 50% in 2021, but Apple’s ATT enforcement  is prompting a downturn. Between January and July of 2021, the number of users who downloaded an eCommerce app increased by 48% overall, with Android gaining 55% and iOS 32% year-over-year. However, the enforcement of Apple’s ATT framework in late April 2021 has affected install patterns by platform. Whereas Android increased by 5% between May and July, iOS installs dropped 12%. This is most likely due to the loss of non-organic installs driven by the rising cost of media and limited data for optimization available to marketers.
  • Global eCommerce app Install Ad Spend Hit  $5.4B in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 alone, with US commanding a third of global app install spend at over $1.8 billion. Mobile app marketers are spending billions to acquire users in a highly competitive global market, with the US leading the way thanks to its scale but mostly because of a high cost of media. 
  • iOS remarketing down 30% as Android sees 10% rise. iOS remarketing in 2021 has taken a hit, with marketers increasing their remarketing budgets on Android. However, numbers are still up year-over-year as marketers are heavily targeting consenting users and the 30% of users who have yet to upgrade to iOS 14.5 (as of July 2021)

“eCommerce app marketers are feeling the challenges brought on by Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework and SKAdNetwork, especially in remarketing conversions,” said Brian Quinn, US President & General Manager, AppsFlyer. “To maximize ATT opt-in rates and increase iOS remarketing audience sizes, marketers should evaluate when and how to display the ATT prompt and optimize the overall user experience as we head into remarketing’s peak effectiveness in November and December.”


AppsFlyer’s State of eCommerce App Marketing, 2021 Edition is an anonymous aggregate of proprietary global data from 4.5 billion app installs from 650 apps and 25 billion remarketing conversions. Of this, 580 million non-organic app installs across 480 apps, with 2 billion remarketing conversions were specific to the U.S.

The State of eCommerce App Marketing is available at:

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