People will spend $6.3 trillion on apps by 2021 as we forget what cash even looks like

Global app usage is soaring and apps are set to be a more massive business than ever, according to a new report.

The total time we spend in mobile apps is expected to pass 3.5 trillion hours by 2021 as the value of apps around the world increases to more than $6 trillion, according to the latest forecasts from app analytics company App Annie.

This says a lot about how we spend our time (3.5 trillion hours adds up to more than 399 million years, in case you were wondering), but it has even bigger implications for our economy. App Annie expects the value of apps around the world to increase to $6.3 trillion by 2021, up from $1.3 trillion in 2016.

Danielle Levitas, senior vice president of Research and Professional Services at App Annie, said there are a few factors driving the app economy's skyrocketing value.

"Clearly, commerce is the dominant portion of these numbers. As mobile payments become more widely integrated in apps and adopted by consumers, retail, ride hailing, grocery, travel, and many more, industries will drive (or get left out) of this transition," said Levitas.


"We haven’t even started to see the impact of mobile and apps in other areas, like health, so there is even more upside long term."

App Annie uses an algorithm to forecast the app marketplace, pulling data from more than 30,000 economic, demographic, behavioral, and technology sector-specific sources, including the U.S Census Bureau and the European Central Bank.

As for how we're spending our time, App Annie highlighted gains in a few categories. Travel app usage went up as much as 75 percent in many countries. Gaming, long one of the most dominant categories, also saw gains — particularly in Japan and South Korea where "hardcore mobile gamers" (defined as the top 10 percent of most active gamers by App Annie) are spending nearly three hours a day playing games.

With engagement like that, it's not surprising then that App Annie expects the total time we spend in mobile apps to be well over 3 trillion hours by 2021.

Other notable stats: The U.S. was the leader in app creation in 2016, with new Google Play and iOS apps making up 24 percent of the total app releases. China came in second with 15 percent of the world's new apps, followed by 9 percent from Japan, 7 percent from Germany, and 6 percent coming out of South Korea.

Here's to a future of even more time and money spent on apps.