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AppsFlyer Report Finds COVID-19 Shopping Drove APAC’s USD800m App Install Ad Spend In H1 2020

Upward trend expected for 2020 Singles Day

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

AppsFlyer’s new report finds in-app sessions for eCommerce and Shopping apps grew by 42% once lockdowns were implemented across the region during February to June, with the largest surge seen in Singapore (146%) during the same period. Continued growth is expected during the upcoming Singles Day in November 2020, with Singles Day in 2019 seeing demand reach its highest peak in both eCommerce and Shopping categories

Today, AppsFlyer, the global attribution leader, has released its shopping report, The State of Shopping App Marketing 2020 Edition, which shows that COVID-19 was a major factor that led to over USD800 million in App Install Ad Spend in Asia Pacific (APAC) in the first half of 2020. 

The report also predicts that Singles Day this year is expected to see continued growth, owing to its strong performance last year, with eCommerce and Shopping app installs reaching its highest peak in November 2019, accounting for 6.7% and 6.5% of app installs respectively. AppsFlyer’s The State of Shopping App Marketing 2020 APAC report examined 750 Shopping, eCommerce, and Marketplace apps, 1.5 billion non-organic installs, 9 billion retargeting conversions across 80 billion sessions, providing a deep-dive into key trends from January 2019 until the end of June 2020.

During the first half of the year in APAC, in the midst of lockdowns due to COVID-19, there was an emphasis on online interactions, with app marketers seeing a rise in retargeting and user acquisition activities. In Singapore itself, there was a 115% jump in the number of non-organic installs in Singapore during lockdown (March 4.4% vs. May 9.5%) and a 55% increase in the number of retargeting conversions in Singapore during lockdown (March 6.6% (iOS) and 6.9% (Android) vs. May 10.7% (Android)). 

In Indonesia, Android users had a surge in the number of retargeting conversions by 2.3x between January 2019 (3.5%) to June 2020 (7.9%) and 50% in retargeting conversions between January and February 2020; May (8.1%) – June (7.9%) peak exceeded Q4 rush by 36%. Indonesia saw a 40% drop in non-organic installs between October 2019 (6.2%) and January 3.7%. However, a slow increase towards April (4.4%) later saw a 15% rapid increase by May 2020 (5.7%). 

Ronen Mense, Managing Director and President of AppsFlyer APAC, said: “The global pandemic greatly accelerated consumer time and money spent on shopping apps. “Although we are in the midst of an economic recession with increasing unemployment rates negatively impacting general spending, consumers worldwide continue to look to reduce visits to physical stores and have turned to online shopping, mainly via their mobile devices.

“This year, more than ever, it is critical that marketers prepare a carefully-crafted strategy to ensure consumers can find, explore, and shop within their app instead of turning to several alternatives. Particular attention should be given to messaging that relays a balance between a sense of empathy and festive spending at the same time.

“In Asia-Pacific, the demand for eCommerce & shopping apps surged during lockdowns, with Indonesia alone generating an average of six purchases per shopping app user in April 2020. We expect this shift to continue to grow with the upcoming Singles Day in November and holiday season in December and January.”

COVID-19 drove an overall growth in app sessions in APAC emphasizing the increased interest in Shopping apps among APAC consumers, usually used to buy products or ‘window shop’. Prior to the pandemic, there was a 28% growth in the number of in-app sessions in APAC between July 2019 (5%) and December 2019 (6.4%). Sessions grew by 42% once lockdowns were instilled in APAC regions, with Singapore seeing a 137% increase in in-app sessions from 5.8% February 2020 to 12.8% in June 2020 with more people spending time at home. Similarly, Indonesia had a 70% jump in user sessions during lockdowns between February 2020 (5.2%) to May 2020 (9.1%) with the Ramadan period leading to more people shopping for family between March 2020 to April 2020. This number has reduced to 8.1% in June 2020 as lockdowns started to ease. 

Between July 2019 to November 2019, the report also highlights a 17% increase in installs of eCommerce apps during the holiday season in APAC, with traditional Shopping app installs preferred over marketplace apps. During Singles Day in November 2019, Indonesia saw average purchases per user among Shopping apps grow by 40% between September (4.10) and November 2019 (5.77). Vietnam saw a 113% increase in average purchases per user on retail apps compared to fashion (1.72) apps during Singles Day month, November 2019 (3.62). Continued growth is expected during the upcoming Singles Day in November 2020, with Singles Day in 2019 seeing demand reach its highest peak in both eCommerce and Shopping categories.

Additional Findings from the Report

  • Singapore consumers buy from fashion apps more than any other shopping category. There is a 48% higher average of purchases per user in fashion apps during May 2020 (7.68%) compared to December 2019 (5.18%)
  • In Indonesia, there was a 40% growth in average purchases in between September (approximately 4%) and November 2019 (5.77%), with Singles Day (11/11) being an important day of purchases in the region. Average purchases saw a decline between December and March 2020 but grew to 5.7% in April 2020 at the peak of the pandemic.
  • Marketers used this opportunity to increase ad spend during the pandemic to further reach their users. Singapore saw a 188% surge in ad spend during the pandemic (March 6.7% to May 19.3%). In Indonesia there was a 76% increase in 2020 between January (4.6%) and June (8.1%)
  • Outside the holiday season, Marketplace apps gained popularity throughout the year, particularly during the pandemic with a 40% increase in marketplace app installs across the region between May and July 2019, and another 43% between November 2019 and March 2020. Once lockdown restrictions were eased in APAC, there was a 36% increase in eCommerce app installs between April 2020 and July 2020

The State of Shopping App Marketing 2020 Edition is available here.

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