Mobile app installs were up by 31 percent year-over-year (YoY) in Q1, according to Adjust’s annual ‘Mobile App Trends’ report. The figure is a testament to the app economy’s uninterrupted ascent since the start of the pandemic — in 2020, app installs surged 50 percent YoY across all verticals, reports Adjust.

In its latest study, Adjust shares mobile growth trends in the gaming, ecommerce and fintech verticals including insights about installs, sessions, time spent in-app, and retention and reattribution rates globally.

Starting with fintech apps, Adjust found that installs grew 51 percent from 2019 to 2020 and are up again by 12 percent in Q1 YoY. Investing and stock-related app searches in particular surged 115 percent YoY, while crypto app downloads saw a 81 percent growth YoY.

Fintech sessions surged too, growing 85 percent YoY; they’re already up 35 percent in 2021, according to Adjust. Fintech sessions grew steadily with the largest weeks at early October (22 percent above average) and late November (24 percent above average).

Compared to gaming and ecommerce apps, Adjust notes that fintech apps had the highest number of returning users: 18 percent on day seven and 12 percent on day 30.

Gaming app installs overall increased by 51 percent in 2020 YoY— 26 percent for non-hyper casual games and 43 percent for hyper casual games. For the latter, the last week of March and first week of April was the best performing period, namely 51 percent above the yearly average. For hyper casual games, growth was strong at the beginning of 2020 though it decreased throughout March then stayed steady for the rest of the year.

In 2020, sessions for non-hyper casual games increased by 27 percent YoY, with sessions for 2021 currently down 9 percent below last year. Sessions for hyper casual games grew by 36 percent YoY, with current sessions down 21 percent so far.

As Adjust notes, last year casual gaming and sports gaming posted the highest session lengths at 21.19 and 22.77 minutes each. Hyper casual sat at 18.78. Overall, users spent 42 percent more time on casual games than on hyper casual.

Upon analyzing Q4 2020, the best performing quarter of the year, games retained best on day one at nearly 30 percent, followed by hyper casual at 27 percent. As per Adjust, hyper casual games must acquire the maximum revenue per user in the first two days of download as retention rates dip heavily after that — just 7.5 percent of users return by day seven and 1.75 percent return by day 30.

Ecommerce installs only grew 6 percent in 2020, but sessions saw a 44 percent surge, showing how deeply engaged users became. Still, 2021 is looking strong so far with Q1 at 11 percent above the yearly average, reports Adjust.

Ecommerce apps retained well, with 13 percent on day seven and 8 percent on day 30. Their reattribution rates hit their peak in Q3 last year at 1.22.

Getting into paid versus organic installs, Adjust’s findings reveal the highest overall share of paid installs took place in Q1 and Q3 of 2020, during which time there were 0.45 paid installs for every organic.

Hyper casual had the highest ratio of paid installs to organic installs, hitting 3.17 by Q4, while shopping saw its largest share of paid installs in Q1, at 0.85. Fintech, on the other hand, had a low share of paid installs — 0.1 to 0.13 for payment and 0.8 to 0.2 for banking, respectively.

At a median of $1.88 per install, Q4 was the most expensive quarter to acquire users. Hyper casual came in at $0.27 per install, gaming at $2.52 and ecommerce at $1.56. Adjust’s data show fintech had its priciest quarter in Q1 at $1.57 versus $0.53 in Q2.

These findings are based on a mix of Adjust’s top 2,000 apps and its complete dataset of all the apps it tracks.