As a region that predominantly uses iOS mobile devices, the latest App Tracking Transparency policy has created some interesting mobile habits.

In the face of widespread social distancing measures and lockdowns, consumers throughout Australia and New Zealand have explored digital alternatives, adopting mobile apps en masse. This has led to a sustained year-on-year increase in consumer in-app spending across the majority of categories measured from Q1 2020 to Q2 2021.

However, the ever-present threat of mobile install fraud continues to loom, particularly among apps in the shopping and finance categories, where fraudulent installs can account for more than 50% of total downloads.

These are the findings of a market report on the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) mobile app scene by App Annie and AppsFlyer. Overall, the report estimates that ANZ apps had a financial fraud exposure of over A$21.3million (U$15.7m in the first half of 2021.

Other key insights and statistics from the report include:

  • Finance app downloads in ANZ grew 35% and 25% respectively year-on-year between H1 2020 and H1 2021.
  • Entertainment and Lifestyle (primarily dating) apps have been identified as standout areas of consumer spending growth, registering a 75% and 45% year-on-year increases respectively in Australia in Q1 2021, and a 45% increase all around in New Zealand.
  • Shopping apps have almost doubled in-app purchases year-on-year across ANZ.
  • Food & Drink apps saw a 66% increase in remarketing conversations in Q2 2021.
  • The introduction of Apple’s privacy-centric iOS 14 and the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework earlier this year has made remarketing more challenging, as reliance on user-level data becomes a thing of the past.
  • There was a quick and sustained bump in iOS budgets and install spend post-ATT enforcement, averaging at 66%.
  • Data shows that lockdowns are bad for app retention, as consumers increasingly want to try apps to find out which ones meet their needs better in the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been coined ‘app tourism’. Possibly due to this, previously popular apps for Shopping, Gaming and Health & Fitness that enjoyed a surge in interest during the height of the pandemic are now seeing consecutive year-over-year dips from 2019 to 2021.

The report leveraged data of over 1 million users, measuring downloads among 3,250 apps across ANZ between Q1 2020 and Q2 2021 that have AppsFlyer’s SDK installed. This covered 237 million app installs, including 136 million non-organic app installs, across Gaming, Shopping, Finance, Food & Drink, Health & Fitness and Social apps.

According to Cindy Deng, Managing Director (Asia Pacific), App Annie: “Consumer spending has never been higher as Australians and New Zealanders double-down on new mobile-first habits. But if the pandemic created app tourism, the challenge for marketers moving into 2022 will be how to get consumers to settle down more permanently.”

AppsFlyer’s Director of Growth, ANZ, Antony Wilcox, commented that marketers in the ANZ region are still struggling to understand the material impact of privacy measures such as ATT in the region’s mobile marketing strategies, given that iOS has an 80% penetration rate, encouraging businesses to “find that balance between consumer privacy, while providing personalization through a smart approach to data insights.”