E-commerce app marketers are spending billions of dollars on user acquisition, according to a new report from AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer, the global marketing measurement leader, has released the 2022 edition of its State of eCommerce App Marketing report. Within the report, AppsFlyer outlines key global trends, guiding marketers in building a mobile-first experience that will drive engagement and sales for the upcoming holiday season.

Following the past few years of significant e-commerce growth resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, e-commerce in general and app marketing, in particular, have entered into a natural slowdown. In 2022, e-commerce is no longer attracting the same volume of new users, and rising prices are starting to take their toll on marketing budgets and planning. Heading into the holiday season marked by an economic downturn, supply disruptions, and continuing privacy changes and data restrictions, efficiency should be at the forefront of marketers’ minds.

On the continent, there was a general increase of 54% in e-commerce apps between January 2021 and July 2022. Unsurprisingly, the peak time for in-app purchases fell naturally during the Q4 holiday season, particularly in November.

Regarding organic vs non-organic installs, shopping apps slowly saw their share of non-organic installs fall on Android in South Africa, perhaps a sign that marketers are spending less. In January 2021, non-organic installs made up two-thirds of an app’s total installs. Approximately a year and a half later, in July 2022, this fell to 57%.

In Nigeria, however, the opposite trend was recorded, with non-organic installs making up the vast majority of an app’s total installs – likely to do with lower cost-per-install (CPI), which has increased over time. In January 2021, non-organic installs made up 64% of an app’s total installs, whereas in July 2022, this was 79%.

Commenting on the release of the report Shani Rosenfelder, Director of Market Insights at AppsFlyer, shared. “The likelihood of a downward trend for e-commerce apps is not the end for marketers, as November is annually the best month for installs and sales across most markets with the likes of Black Friday. This year, especially, consumers might still have an appetite for spending in the holiday season thanks to the addition of the World Cup. For this reason, apps should focus on remarketing to retain the users they did pick up over the past few years and publishers need to make the most of their owned media channels.”

Additional Key Insights from the report globally and for the continent include:

  • E-commerce app marketers spent $6.1 Billion on user acquisition. Still, global ad spending nosedived over – 50% Year-over-Year (YoY) due to rising iOS media cost, post-Covid relative return to normalcy, and other macroeconomic conditions. Globally, app installs ad spending among e-commerce apps took a significant hit due to rising and volatile CPI, with a 55% YoY drop in Android in January, and a similarly steep 53% dive for iOS.

  • Globally, thirty-day retention on Android declined 13% as mobile users continued to explore new apps and services. Meanwhile, iOS dropped 5% while reporting better overall retention than Android users, keeping with historical trends.

  • Regarding app overall installs on the continent  – South Africa saw total e-commerce installs on Android grow 16% from H1 2021 to H1 2022. On iOS, they grew 12%.

  • In Nigeria, total e-commerce installs on Android dropped 28% from H1 2021 to H1 2022. On iOS, they dropped 18%.

  • In Kenya, total e-commerce installs on Android dropped 15% from H1 2021 to H1 2022.